Kyle Schwarber’s three-run bomb enough to down Giants in Wild Card showdown


40. 5. 9. Final. 4

Cubs attack early; Giants rally late but still fall

Chicago Cubs rookie catcher Kyle Schwarber launched a three-run homer to right-center field during the bottom half of the second inning to backup starting pitcher Jason Hammel in the 5-4 win over the San Francisco Giants.

This series is key for both clubs in regards to the N.L. Wild Card race with the Giants holding a half-game lead over the Cubs entering tonight’s contest. Outfielder Jorge Soler put the Cubs on the board with a two-run RBI single with the bases loaded in the first inning to give his team the 2-0 advantage.

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Both Anthony Rizzo and Schwarber came around to score while Kris Bryant advanced to second with two outs. The Cubs (59-48) had the opportunity to score later on in the seventh after Bryant and Rizzo reached recorded a pair of singles.

Soler, who stepped into the batter’s box 2-for-3, flied out to Hunter Pence in right field to advance Rizzo over to third with Starlin Castro due up behind him. Castro ended the frame by flying out to Pence with the Cubs leading the Giants (59-49) by one run.

Hammel (7-5. 3.17 ERA) held the defending champions to two earned runs on three hits including a two-run bomb by Brandon Belt in the fourth which cut his lead down to three runs. He exited after the fourth inning with two walks and four strikeouts. 

His counterpart, Chris Heston (11-6, 3.48 ERA) worked as many innings as Hammel but was tagged for five earned runs on as many hits early on.

Heston walked two batters while striking out one prior to handing things over to Jeremy Affeldt.

Recently acquired reliever Tommy Hunter entered the game in the sixth inning with a three-run lead in his back pocket but was unable to escape the frame without giving up a big fly.

Shortly after Pence reached safely, shortstop Brandon Crawford brought his team within one run with San Francisco’s second two-run bomb to left-center.

Thankfully, Jason Motte and Pedro Strop were able to keep the Giants at bay as they combined for two hitless innings with two strikeouts and a walk to set up Hector Rondon in the ninth.

Rondon slammed the door on the Giants with a 1-2-3 inning to claim the first game of this four-game set.

Schwarber’s homer was his third in four games and sixth of the season. Is it wrong that he already has more big flies that Soler?

These two teams will meet tomorrow afternoon when Jon Lester (6-8, 3.26 ERA) takes on Ryan Vogelsong (7-7, 4.16 ERA) at 3:05 p.m. central time.