A little over a week ago, Cubs manager David Ross evaluated his slumping lineup as, “very homer-dependent right now.”
In a 16-4 win against the Mets on Wednesday, the Cubs scored 10 runs before Javy Báez hit their only home run of the night, a grand slam.
“I was happy with guys staying up the middle,” Ross said after the Cubs’ second straight victory over the Mets. “A lot of singles, got a couple off the end that fell nicely, a couple jam shots. It just told me we’re staying up the middle with the right approach. I don’t know if we've had that many singles in quite some time.”
The Mets did their part to help the Cubs offense, committing four errors and even more miscues. The Cubs won’t be able to count on shoddy opposing defense every game. But in this series, and Wednesday especially, the Cubs offense began to draft a blueprint for success when balls aren’t flying over the fence.
Take the Cubs’ fourth-inning rally, for example. It started with three consecutive singles. Willson Contreras, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo all pegged hits up the middle or to the opposite field to score the Cubs’ first run of the game.
Báez then reached on a fielding error by Mets third baseman J.D. Davis to load the bases. The Cubs didn’t even need a hard hit to tack on the next four runs. Matt Duffy walked, David Bote hit a bloop singe and Jake Marisnick grounded out to third.
Pinch hitter Eric Sogard and leadoff hitter Ian Happ each logged singles to put the final touches on the seven-run inning.
The inning could have gone longer if Happ hadn’t rounded first so aggressively on his single. After Francisco Lindor’s errant throw flew past first base, Happ got caught halfway between first and second. Sogard scored on the error, but Happ was thrown out trying to get back to first base.
The last time the Cubs scored seven runs in an inning was Sept. 27, 2019 at St. Louis. That seven-run inning included a three-run home run from Robel Garcia.
“Offensively, this is definitely the kind of game that all of us live for,” said Cubs infielder Matt Duffy, who went 3-for-4 with three RBI Wednesday. “It just kind of seems easy, and everybody's clicking, everybody's involved.”
The Cubs had a comfortable lead by the end of the fourth inning Wednesday. But in the fifth, they tacked on three more runs with the same formula – base hits, walks, taking advantage of errors.
Báez broke the Cubs’ homer-less scoring streak the next inning, blasting a grand slam over the left field wall. It was the sixth of his career.
By the end of the night, nine different Cubs had hits.
“Keeping it simple,” Báez said, “is the key for a big team win.”