Despite only getting two innings from starter Kyle Hendricks due to a a lengthy rain delay, the Chicago Cubs were able to pick up a second straight win over the American League East-leading Baltimore Orioles at Wrigley Field on Saturday afternoon, winning by a 7-2 final.
Baltimore (73-54) opened the scoring with single runs in the top of both the first and second innings, but a four-run second by the Chicago offense seemed to set the pace. With one out in the bottom of the frame, recently-promoted infielder Logan Watkins singled, scoring Luis Valbuena and cutting the Orioles’ lead to 2-1. Coghlan then broke things wide open, driving the two-out, full-count pitch from Baltimore starter Bud Norris (11-8, 3.91 ERA) into right field for an RBI triple, putting Chicago ahead 4-2.
After the rain delay, the two teams were scoreless until the bottom of the sixth when Chris Valaika singled to center, scoring Ryan Sweeney and giving Chicago a 5-2 edge. The delay did, however, spell the end of both respective starters’ afternoons. Hendricks, who has been nothing short of spectacular this season for the Cubs, allowed two earned in two innings of work to go along with five hits. he also struck out two batters. Justin Grimm (4-2, 4.06 ERA) picked up the win in relief of the rookie right-hander, throwing 3 1/3 hitless frames. A trio of relievers followed Grimm, allowing just a pair of hits in over three innings of work and leading Chicago (57-72) to a series win, regardless of how Sunday’s contest plays out.
Prospect Javier Baez added his touch to this ball game, taking a 1-1 pitch from Tommy Hunter and driving it into the right field bleachers for his seventh home run of the season and second in as many days in the bottom of the seventh. Watkins added an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth, giving the Cubs even more breathing room in the ninth that ultimately proved to be unnecessary.
Watkins drove in a pair of runs on the afternoon, going 2-for-4 for Chicago.