Cubs

Konerko, Beckham power White Sox to Crosstown victory

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Konerko, Beckham power White Sox to Crosstown victory

Gordon Beckham hit a tie-breaking home run in the eighth inning Friday and the Chicago White Sox overcame the loss of star Paul Konerko to beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 in what was the final major league game for Cubs reliever Kerry Wood.Beckham's solo shot and a two-run blast from Konerko in the first were the only runs allowed by Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija (4-2).Konerko suffered a laceration above his left eye and swelling when he was hit by a Samardizja pitch in the third inning and had to leave the game. He was to have more tests to determine the extent of the injury.Wood's retirement dominated the pre-game conversations as the right-hander shagged batting practice balls in the outfield with his son. After struggling with injuries over the better part of a decade and again early this season, Wood was expected to retire after one more appearance with the Cubs and he made that in the eighth after Samardzija walked Adam Dunn.Wood, who began his major league career with the Cubs in 1998 and struck out 20 Houston Astros batters in his fifth major league start, took the mound to rousing cheers. When Wood struck out Dayan Viciedo with three pitches - the only batter he faced - he was taken out as teammates congratulated him on the mound and Dunn doffed his batting helmet and clapped from first base.Wood left to a rousing standing ovation and was hugged by his son as he reached the dugout. Moments later, Wood emerged for a curtain call, waving his cap to the fans at Wrigley Field as James Russell threw warmup pitches. He played slightly more than 13 seasons, most of them in Chicago."It's time," Wood said afterward. "We all get to this point.'Konerko's 19th career homer in 66 games against the Cubs came one out after a first-inning single by Beckham and made it 2-0.

But the Cubs responded right away against Phil Humber. David DeJesus led off with a fly ball double into the ivy in left field and Tony Campana had a bunt single when Humber slipped down trying to field it. Campana then stole second before Starlin Castro's long sacrifice fly made it 2-1 and sent Campana to third. Humber then struck out Bryan LaHair and got Alfonso Soriano to fly out.Samardizja hit Konerko with a high tight pitch in the third, sending him sprawling into the dirt and eventually out of the game holding a towel to his face. The next inning, Humber threw a pitch high and behind Cubs cleanup hitter Bryan LaHair in the fourth and home plate umpire Tim Timmons issued a warning to both teams.The Cubs tied the game in the seventh when Ian Stewart led off with a single and one out later Darwin Barney doubled into the left field corner to finish Humber after just 66 pitches. Matt Thornton (2-3) came in and Samardzija promptly bounced his first pitch through the left side for an RBI single to tie the game and put runners at first and third. DeJesus popped out and so did Campana on a bunt attempt, ending the inning.Samardzija allowed six hits and three runs in 7 1-3 innings with two walks and eight strikeouts.Humber allowed five hits and the two runs in 6 1-3 innings and is now 0-2 with three no-decisions since pitching a perfect game against Seattle on April 21. Addison Reed got his fourth save in as many chances with a scoreless ninth that included a double by Barney when White Sox right fielder Alex Rios lost his two-out fly ball in the sun.Cubs manager Dale Sveum was ejected in the fifth inning after arguing a call at second base with umpire Marty Foster, who was covering second on the play. DeJesus had hit a ball to left center and appeared to be safe at second but when Beckham went to make a tag he knocked DeJesus off the bag and Foster called him out.Notes: White Sox 3B Brent Morel was a late scratch with a sore back that has bothered him off and on this season. He was replaced by Eduardo Escobar ... Cubs C Geovany Soto will have surgery on a torn meniscus in his left knee and will miss three to four weeks ... The Cubs called up catcher Blake Lalli and optioned out struggling right-hander Chris Volstad, who had an 0-6 record.
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Kris Bryant's injury looms large as Cubs finish home stand in underwhelming fashion

Kris Bryant's injury looms large as Cubs finish home stand in underwhelming fashion

There are 162 baseball games in a season and some days, you’re just not going to have it. On Sunday afternoon, in a 10-2 loss to the Reds, the Cubs just didn’t have it. 

“It’s already in the trash can...” Maddon said. “... so let’s flush it out and move on.” 

Things were bleak from the very first at-bat of the game, when Kyle Schwarber took a 3-2 fastball looking for one of his three strikeouts on the day. Anthony Rizzo was the only starter not to strike out at least once, as the Cubs’ finished with 11. Reds starter Tanner Roark was responsible for 9 of them, his season-high. 

Things weren’t much better on the basepaths or in the field. Besides making two errors, Anthony Rizzo was thrown out at the plate in the 2nd inning and David Bote got doubled-up at first after drawing a walk in the 6th. The Cubs were playing playing their 13th game in 13 days, and it showed.

“I feel really good about how we’ve been playing until today,” Maddon said. “This whole month we’ve been in almost every game except for this one, and maybe the [7-0 loss on May 10th] against Milwaukee. There’s not a whole lot to be upset about, and I’m not. I just want to make sure everyone’s well moving forward.” 

There was a scary moment in the 6th inning, as Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward collided in the right field gap while trying to make a play on a fly ball from Eugenio Suarez. Bryant was slow to get up and eventually had to leave the game. He’s still being evaluated for a head/neck injury, and the Cubs don’t yet know if he’ll go into concussion protocol. For what it's worth, Bryant was cleared to fly with the team. 

“He’s doing okay,” he said. “He’s still under evaluation. We don’t know exactly what we’re doing with this whole thing yet, but we’re trying to talk with the doctors and find out exactly where we’re at.”

“We collided, and I called for the ball,” Heyward added. “We were both going hard to make a play and ran into each other.”

The loss dropped starter Jose Quintana to 4-4 on the season. Quintana went 5.1 innings while allowing six runs on 12 hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Despite relatively weak contact, the Reds hit well all weekend. Their 42 hits over three games was the most for them in a three-game series at Wrigley since 1976, and they finished the weekend with a .404 BABIP. 

“Yeah, I just had to keep pitching, you know?” Quintana said. “Keeping my focus. It was really tough - too many base hits. In some contests that happens. I just try to stay close in the game.” 

The Cubs finished their 7-game homestand at 3-4, and now hit the road for a two-city trip. Up first comes the 35-19 Astros, who are 20-7 at home. This season Houston ranks first in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, and third in home runs. Their closer, Ryan Pressley, has the lowest ERA of all qualified relievers and is fresh off a streak of 40 straight scoreless appearances.

“I’m excited,” Joe Maddon said before Sunday’s game. “Let’s get by today, but I’m excited for the whole week. Look at our schedule - it’s been pretty firm, and it continues to be pretty firm. And that’s the way it should be. I’m looking forward to it.” 

Kris Bryant leaves Sunday's game after outfield collision with Jason Heyward

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Scott Chagnon/NBC Sports Chicago

Kris Bryant leaves Sunday's game after outfield collision with Jason Heyward

Add injury to insult for the Cubs. 

In the top of the 6th inning, with the Cubs already down 6 runs, right fielder Kris Bryant left the game after colliding with Jason Heyward in the outfield.

You can check out the video right here. 

It's possible that the move was simply precautionary. The Cubs are on their 13th game in 13 days, and being down six runs in the latter half of a getaway game isn't the time to roll the dice. That said, Bryant missing time would be a significant blow, as the Cubs' star is in the midst of a stellar season. Through 49 games, Bryant's slashing .288/.411/.576 with a .987 and a 160 wRC+. As of Sunday afternoon, only Javy Baez has a higher WAR (2.5) than Bryant (2.4). 

There's been no further announcement on the extent of Bryant's injury.