These aren't the same old Cubs anymore.
They proved that again Friday afternoon as they hammered old foe Francisco Liriano.
The Cubs hit three home runs en route to a 9-4 victory over Liriano and the Pirates in front of 37,479 people at Wrigley Field.
Liriano came into the game with a 2.27 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 67 1/3 innings (11 starts) against the Cubs in his career, including a sparkling 1.90 ERA in 10 starts in a Pirates uniform.
But the Cubs knocked around Liriano on Friday to the tune of eight runs on nine hits and and four walks, plus the three home runs to take advantage of the wind finally blowing out at Wrigley.
Addison Russell delivered the first blow — a three-run shot in the fourth inning. Kris Bryant (two-run shot) and David Ross (three-run homer) followed suit in the fifth inning.
"It's nice to have a little fun today after the panic set in after we lost two in a row," Ross joked. "Now everybody can relax a little bit more; we actually won one. Back on track on the winning streak."
Dexter Fowler drove in Ross with a two-out double in the eighth inning to close out the Cubs' scoring on the afternoon.
After a rough series against the San Diego Padres, Jason Heyward and Jorge Soler took a lot of flak for their slow starts offensively, but the two outfielders combined to reach base five times in nine plate appearances on two singles and three walks. Heyward also hit into some rough luck with a line drive right at Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte and was robbed on a hit up the middle in the ninth by Pirates shortstop Sean Rodriguez.
Jason Hammel was stellar again on the mound for the Cubs, striking out eight and allowing just one earned run in 6 2/3 innings.
The Cubs have now outscored the Pirates 29-9 on the season, winning all four head-to-head matchups.
"I've talked about the power of 24 hours. That's the power of 48, I guess, right?" Joe Maddon said. "Whatever happened the previous game, the only way things like that injure or bother you is if you permit them to.
"I'm telling you, man, don't be a carrier. If something negative happens, don't be a carrier. Find the nearest lake and drop it in the lake on your way home. And just come out and play the next day. The last game's got nothing to do with today. And our guys really responded well."