Cubs

Cubs bash four homers, break losing skid in victory over Rockies

Cubs bash four homers, break losing skid in victory over Rockies

CHICAGO (AP) Addison Russell had a go-ahead home run for his first big contribution since an absence in the wake of a Major League Baseball investigation into domestic abuse allegations, and the Chicago Cubs stopped the Colorado Rockies' seven-game winning streak, 7-5 Sunday.

Russell and Kyle Schwarber had back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning. Miguel Montero and Ben Zobrist also connected, helping the World Series champion Cubs even their record at 31-31.

Russell played for the second time since missing the first two games of the series. The MLB investigation began after claims of abuse against his wife were levied in a since-deleted social media post.

Reliever Jordan Lyles (0-2) gave up both homers in the sixth. The NL West-leading Rockies ended their longest winning string since 2013.

Carl Edwards Jr. (2-0) won in relief of starter Jake ArrietaWade Davis gave up a run in the ninth before getting his 13th save in 13 chances.

Russell, batting just .213, put the Cubs ahead 5-4 with his fourth home run. Schwarber, hitting only .171, followed with a pinch-hit drive for his 11th homer.

Schwarber's towering fly to right field which earned him a curtain call from the Wrigley Field fans on a 91-degree day.

Colorado rookie Antonio Senzatela labored through four innings, striking out six. He allowed four runs before getting an out in the first as Anthony Rizzo had an RBI double on a 10-pitch at-bat and Zobrist hit a three-run homer.

The Rockies responded with four runs in the fifth inning, all charged to Arrieta.

DJ LeMahieu walked with the bases loaded and, after Carlos Gonzalez was ejected arguing a called third strike, Mark Reynolds lined an RBI single to make it 4-2.

Edwards relieved and allowed a tying, two-run single by Ian Desmond.

Montero homered in the eighth. LeMahieu added an RBI single in the ninth before Davis got Alexi Amarista to pop out to end it.

QUOTABLE

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said sometimes less information is more helpful to young hitters who are struggling, as Schwarber has been lately.

"Lately, I'm certain that Uber drivers have been telling him how to hit," Maddon said. "That's just how it works."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rockies: C Tom Murphy (forearm fracture) is about 7-10 days from returning, manager Bud Black said.

UP NEXT

Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (7-3, 3.34 ERA) opens a three-game series in Pittsburgh on Monday, hoping to improve to 5-0 on the road this season.

Cubs: RHP John Lackey (4-6, 5.12) has lost three straight starts and begins a three-game series and six-game road trip Monday against the New York Mets. The Cubs play 17 of their next 20 games on the road.

As he decides what's next, it's clear Ben Zobrist has something left in the tank

As he decides what's next, it's clear Ben Zobrist has something left in the tank

When Ben Zobrist rejoined the Cubs active roster on Sept. 1, it was fair to wonder how much he could provide offensively. After all, he spent the previous four months on the restricted list while tending to a family matter, last playing a big-league game on May 6.

Zobrist did no baseball activities from May to mid-July, only working out to stay in shape. Although he eventually ramped things up, he played in just 12 minor league rehab games in August before returning to the Cubs, a small number compared to the length of his absence.

Even Zobrist admitted upon his big-league return that his timing at the plate wasn’t where he wanted it to be. And yet, what he did in September was nothing short of impressive. In 21 games, he posted a .284/.377/.388 slash line, performing at a level many couldn’t have expected, considering the circumstances.

Zobrist's impact on the Cubs' lineup goes beyond what you see in the box score, however. Not only is he a switch hitter with some pop, but he has a keen eye for the strike zone and frequently puts together professional at-bats.

On a Cubs team that tends to expand the zone, Zobrist’s presence mattered. In his second game back, for example, he went 3-for-3 with two walks, helping the Cubs beat the Brewers 10-5. After the game, Brewers starter Chase Anderson pointed out how different the Cubs' lineup looks with Zobrist in it.

"They play the matchups really well and Zobrist makes that team so much better," Anderson said on Sept. 5. "Just bringing his presence to the top of the lineup, it changes their dynamic a little bit."

Where Zobrist stands entering 2020, though, is currently unclear.

Zobrist is set to hit free agency after the World Series and will turn 39 next May. Therefore, it’s possible that he’s played his last game in the big leagues, as he has little, if anything, left to prove at this stage in his career.

Ahead of the Cubs’ season finale on Sept. 29, Zobrist told reporters in St. Louis that he hasn’t thought about how much time he’ll take before deciding what’s next for him. His family situation will obviously play a big role in his decision, but if September showed anything, it's that he still has something left in the tank.

“I’m 38 but I got that feeling all over again,” Zobrist said following the Cubs’ season finale, a 9-0 loss to the Cardinals in which he pitched a scoreless inning. “Just really fun, you know? It’s a fun game. Sometimes you don’t come out on the winning end, but you still gotta have fun with it and enjoy it. I enjoyed it today."

The Cubs roster is expected to undergo changes this offseason, with center field, second base and the leadoff spot being just a few areas the team will look to address. The latter two spots became revolving doors during Zobrist’s absence, as the Cubs struggled to replace what he brought offensively.

Zobrist is past the point in his career of being an everyday player. However, he still could be a useful asset for the Cubs in a supporting role, bringing his veteran approach to the lineup when he plays while still offering an experienced voice in the clubhouse.

“I take a lot of joy in that role, just being a supporting guy and being a part of winning clubs and part of winning atmospheres and cultures,” Zobrist said on Sept. 29. “The Chicago Cubs have been that since I’ve been around. This year we didn’t make the playoffs — we still have a winning record — (but) the kind of relationships that are built here and the culture that’s been built here is definitely a winning one.”

After the Cubs announced that they wouldn’t retain Joe Maddon for 2020, Zobrist acknowledged that more changes were likely coming in the offseason. Only time will tell what that means for the veteran utilityman — should he continue playing.

Whether he retires or joins a different team for 2020, though, Zobrist will look back on his four seasons with the Cubs fondly.

“(They’re) just the most passionate fans I’ve ever met,” he said of Cubs fans. “They’re very loyal, very passionate and it’s been such a pleasure to be a part of that team that beat the curse back in ’16, so I feel that still, when I see Cubs fans, there’s a lot of them that hug me and thank me for being a part of that.

“I’ll always look back at [my] time here — I don’t know what’s going to happen in the offseason — but look back at these four years and [be] very grateful to be able to be part of a group like this and be able to do what we did while I was here.”

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Cubs Talk Podcast: An ode to Joe Maddon and looking to the next era

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USA Today

Cubs Talk Podcast: An ode to Joe Maddon and looking to the next era

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, Tony Andracki, Kelly Crull, Scott Changnon and Jeff Nelson give us their memories of Joe Maddon's time with the Cubs and discuss David Ross and Joe Espada's candidacy to be the next manager.

01:30 Kelly's memories of Joe from the perspective of a reporter

06:00 Going back to Hazleton with Joe

07:45 Joe's legacy as manager of the Cubs

16:00 How Joe impacted Javy Baez' career

18:00 David Ross and Joe Espada may be the leaders to replace Joe Maddon.

Listen here or via the embedded player below:

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Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Cubs games easily on your device.