Maybe all the Cubs needed these last few days was a road trip and some room service in the form of the Tigers' major-league-worst pitching staff.
Javy Báez (two homers), David Bote (homer, four RBIs), Jason Heyward (two doubles) won't complain regardless as the Cubs scored two more in one 9-3 victory over the Tigers on Monday night than they did in three games against the White Sox over the weekend.
The Tigers, who lost for the 11th time in 13 games, entered with a 5.93 ERA, and the Cubs took advantage with 12 hits, four walks and three hit batters.
Báez might be the most important hitter the Cubs need to rebound from a slow start.
And that makes his last few games potentially the most important of the season so far — especially this three-hit, two-homer game against the Tigers.
He singled in the third, homered to right-center in the fourth and again to left in the ninth — making him 6-for-his-last-14, going back to the fourth inning Friday against the White Sox, with a double and walk.
“The last couple at-bats at home you could start to see a little bit of an under-controlled swing where he was getting a feel for his body and where it needed to be to get the barrel to the ball,” manager David Ross said. “A really nice approach that homer to right. That’s got to be a big weight lifted off his shoulder.”
It’s his second three-hit game of the season — first in a month.
"I know I have been struggling," said Báez who added he started to feel better at the plate in recent days. "But I don't stop working. I don't stop trying to get better."
That’s what he said
“We’re going to live and die with the core guys here. We’re going to be as good as those guys are.” — Ross before the game
Apparently you can take the Cubs out of Chicago, but you can’t take their penchant for loading the bases out of their bats.
Despite the healthy production overall, the Cubs came up empty the first two times they loaded the bases Monday — albeit, two-out scoring chances each time -- before David Bote delivered the third time with a two-run single with one out in the ninth.
Going back to the start of their just-concluded 5-7 homestand, the Cubs have loaded the bases 18 times in their last 13 games — twice with nobody out, six more times with one out — and scored just nine runs in those situations. And it took a passed ball to get one of them.
Even with Bote's big hit in the ninth, they’re just 3-for-24 (all singles) with a walk in those chances.
Mills makes case
Cubs starter Alec Mills, the Cubs’ sixth starter/swingman until José Quintana’s thumb injury sidelined him for the start of the season, rebounded from his worst start of the season to pitch seven innings for the win.
Mills, who got tagged for a three-run homer late in a loss two starts ago and a first-inning grand slam in a loss the last time out, retired 11 in a row at one point in this one until allowing a single and homer to start the seventh.
The strong outing comes just ahead of the return from the injured list of both Tyler Chatwood (back), who rejoins the rotation Tuesday, and Quintana, who joins the bullpen Tuesday — for now.