Chicago Cubs: Five home runs just enough to hold off Orioles

BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 14: Willson Contreras
BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 14: Willson Contreras /

With the return of baseball’s second half, the World Champion Chicago Cubs survived a nail biter in win over Baltimore Friday night.

Eager to put a dismal first half behind them, the Chicago Cubs eyed a good start Friday night against the Baltimore Orioles. They did just that, taking the opener 9-8.

Knock-out punch

Powered by four home runs over the first two innings, the Cubs held off the Baltimore Orioles Friday night at Camden Yards. Mike Montgomery wasn’t able to pick up the win as he went just 4 1/3 innings.

On the evening he allowed five hits, four earned runs, struck out two and walked two.

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Willson Contreras hit a three-run home run, and Kyle Schwarber followed up with his 14th as the duo went back-to-back in the first inning.

Schwarber has been a part of back-to-back home run games three times in 2017.

Leadoff man Ben Zobrist added a two-run shot in the second, and Jason Heyward added another in the third inning. Addison Russell delivered the game-winning home run in the ninth.

Orioles starter Kevin Gausman was yanked early, lasting just three innings. He allowed all eight runs. All-Star closer Wade Davis remains perfect in saves.

Grimm relief

Though the Cubs offense gave Montgomery an early lead, things got a little dicey in the fifth inning. Justin Grimm entered the game with an 8-3 lead but failed to strand runners. He allowed two runs.

Former Oriole Brian Duensing pitched a third of an inning. Koji Uehara allowed the tying home run to Mark Trumbo in the 8th. He had only allowed one home run all season coming in.

Chicago’s bullpen entered action with the second-best ERA in the NL.

Orioles’ catcher and the one-time Cub Welington Castillo put the O’s on the board first with his ninth home run. Chicago’s five home runs tied a season high. This is the Cubs’ first trip to Baltimore since 2003.

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In the second game of the series, former Oriole Jake Arrieta (8-7, 4.35 ERA) makes the start against lefty Wade Miley (4-7, 4.97 ERA).

First pitch between the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles will be at 6:05 p.m. CT from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.