Cubs come through in the clutch again to top Giants

Cubs come through in the clutch again to top Giants

Another game, another late comeback for the Cubs.

Ho hum.

The Cubs keep demonstrating that "it" factor, utilizing an Addison Russell broken-bat single with two outs in the seventh to beat the San Francisco Giants 5-4 in front of 38,536 fans on Thursday night at Wrigley Field.

Russell's 87th and 88th RBIs lifted the Cubs (86-47) to their fourth straight victory as they continued to cruise into the season's final month.

The Giants (72-61) jumped all over Mike Montgomery in the first inning with a Denard Span double and then a Hunter Pence homer smacked into the teeth of a 15 mph wind blowing in from left field.

The resilient Cubs bounced right back with three runs of their own in the bottom of the first off Kris Bryant's bloop single, Jason Heyward's RBI single and Chris Coghlan's run-scoring double.

Montgomery allowed solo tallies in the second and third innings, but the bullpen bailed him out and the Cubs proved they had one more late comback left in them.

Three relievers - Rob Zastryzny, Joe Smith, Carl Edwards Jr. - combined to throw five perfect innings. 

It was the second time this season the Cubs bullpen had tallied at least five hitless innings (seven innings on May 30 against the Dodgers after Jason Hammel had to leave his start early due to cramping). Prior to 2016, it had been eight years since a Cubs bullpen had notched even one such dominant outing.

"Wow," was all manager Joe Maddon could muster initially after the game, marveling at the work of his bullpen. "Just a good game. ... Limited bullpen day; give the guys credit."

The Cubs were without closer Aroldis Chapman - who worked all three games of the Pirates series - and Maddon didn't want to use several other guys in the bullpen if he didn't have to.

[RELATED - Time for Cubs to preserve Chapman for October]

"Most of your normal guys are out - to have those kinds of moments, they're all going to grow for it," Maddon said. "It makes us thicker down the stretch here. You're able to spread the work out, keep guys fresh.

"Chapman, [Justin Grimm], [Trevor] Cahill, [Travis] Wood - nobody lifted their arm. It was great."

That left Zastryzny to halt the Giants in the fifth and sixth innings, running his ERA down to 0.87 to start his MLB career.

Smith was activated off the disabled list Thursday and picked up his first win in a Cubs uniform with three strikeouts amidst two perfect innings.

And then Edwards notched his first big-league save in the ninth.

"Not gonna lie, I was nervous," Edwards said. "I felt good. My main goal was just to get first-pitch strikes. 

"My attitude pretty much stayed the same. I didn't really try to do too much. Just stay on the path that I've been on, going after guys, pitching with confidence and conviction."

"I just loved his focus," Maddon said. "The head down, pull up, see the target, throw a baseball. It was great."

Where Cubs and White Sox players will bat in All-Star lineup

Where Cubs and White Sox players will bat in All-Star lineup

The 2018 MLB All-Star Game lineups are out for the American and National League, and one former White Sox pitcher makes history.

Javier Baez, in his first All-Star appearance, was tabbed to lead off for the NL. Catcher Willson Contreras, also in his first Midsummer Classic, will hit ninth.

As for the White Sox, starting first basemen Jose Abreu is the lone Sox representative. He will bat eighth for the American League.

For both the AL and NL, the starting lineups look like this.

In a repeat of last year’s starting pitching matchup, the Nationals’ Max Scherzer and former Sox ace Chris Sale will oppose each other for the second consecutive season.

For Sale, this marks his third straight season starting the Midsummer Classic—a feat that hasn’t been done in over 50 years.

Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber select their Home Run Derby pitchers

Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber select their Home Run Derby pitchers

The 2018 Home Run Derby starts Monday night at 7 p.m., and Cubs Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber have picked who will be their pitchers.

Baez has chosen his brother Gadiel, while Schwarber selected Mike Sanicola, who played at the University of Miami and is a friend of Schwarber’s agent, Jason Romano.

Gadiel does have a baseball background in his back pocket. After playing baseball in high school, he played at Cowley College (JUCO), Tabor College (NAIA) and played in an independent league for two years.

It’ll be a first time experience for both Baez and Schwarber, who are the first Cubs to participate in the Home Run Derby since Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant did it back in 2015.

Could Baez or Schwarber be the home run king? Will just have to wait and see.