Russell hit his second career grand slam, Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist each had two-run homers and the Cubs rallied to beat the Minnesota Twins 10-6 on Friday.
Kyle Schwarber added his 16th home run, a solo shot in the seventh, in a late afternoon contest that started with a temperature of 96 degrees and a 12-mph breeze blowing out. Anthony Rizzo completed Chicago’s scoring with an RBI single in the eighth as the Cubs pulled away to win their third game in four following a five-game slide.
Russell’s second homer – and four-RBI game – in two days chased Twins starter Jose Berrios (8-6) with one out the fifth and put Chicago ahead for the first time, 6-5. The shortstop’s deep fly to left was pushed by a steady southwest wind as it narrowly reached the Wrigley Field bleachers.
”I figured I got it pretty good, but I thought I hit it a little too high,” Russell said. ”I’m happy that it’s summertime in Chicago and now those balls are flying.”
”I’ve just been really trying to work on my approach with (hitting coach Chili Davis) and myself, as well as my discipline at the plate,” Russell said. ”It looks like it’s getting better.”
Joe Mauer homered among three hits and finished with a season-high five RBIs for the Twins. Mauer hit a three-run shot in the second and lined a two-run double off Cubs starter Mike Montgomery in the fourth.
”Today, probably high-end extreme of favorable to the offensive side,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said of the weather. ”It played a little bit of a role in the game.
”I got a little bit of a boost I think on Joe’s ball and on (Russell’s) grand slam.”
Montgomery (3-2) lasted five innings and earned the win despite giving up five runs (three earned) and seven hits with three walks. Three Cubs relievers followed with a scoreless inning each before Justin Wilson allowed the Twins’ final run in the ninth.
Brandon Morrow came in to get the final out for his 17th save.
Berrios lacked his usual velocity as he yielded a season-high six runs and four walks. The right-hander was 3-0 with a 2.10 ERA over his previous five starts.
”I thought I lost a little bit of stamina out there,” Berrios said. ”Scorching hot.”
Mauer’s homer was just his second this season
Jeremiah Attaochu Color Rush Jersey
, following a solo shot on May 1, and he hit the opposite-field drive despite being ill. The 35-year-old first baseman last drove in five runs in a game last Sept. 17 against Toronto.
Mauer’s drive with two outs in the second made it 3-0. The wind helped his fly carry into the left-field basket.
Heyward lined Berrios’ first pitch to him in the third into the right-center bleachers to cut it to 3-2.
Mauer’s double to center field in the fourth and plated two runs to extend the Twins’ lead to 5-2.
After the Cubs loaded the bases in the fifth, Russell’s homer put them ahead. Zobrist added his two-run shot to right in the sixth off Matt Magill to make it 8-5.
BABY BOY BAEZ
INF Javier Baez wasn’t in the lineup following the birth of his son Friday morning. Baez, tied with Schwarber for the team lead with 16 homers, pinch hit in the seventh and struck out.
Twins: INF/OF Taylor Motter was placed on the disabled list with concussion like symptoms after hitting his chest hard against right field wall at Guaranteed Rate Field on Thursday while trying to make a catch. … Minnesota recalled C/INF Willians Astudillo from Triple-A Rochester to take Motter’s roster spot. … The Twins designated RHP Felix Jorge for release or assignment.
Cubs: RHP Yu Darvish travelled to Texas to see orthopedic surgeon Keith Meister for a fresh opinion on his sore right triceps and got a new diagnosis: Right elbow impingement and inflammation. Darvish also got a cortisone shot that will take three-to-five days to settle in. The injury flared up in a bullpen session on Thursday in Los Angeles and forced the Cubs to scrub Darvish’s return to the rotation this weekend. . INF/OF Kris Bryant (left shoulder inflammation) hit off a tee and took infield practice on Friday. He could return on Tuesday when he’s eligible to come off the disabled list. … RHP Carl Edwards Jr. (right shoulder inflammation) was scheduled to make a rehab outing at Triple-A Iowa on Friday and is nearing a return from the DL.
Twins LHP Adalberto Mejia makes his first major league appearance of the season and faces Cubs RHP Tyler Chatwood (3-5, 3.95), who comes off the paternity list. Mejia is 4-2 with 2.74 ERA in 11 games (nine starts) for Triple-A Rochester
, and was 4-7 with 4.50 ERA in 21 starts for the Twins in 2017. The Twins sent RHP Alan Busenitz down to make room for him.
HOUSTON — Yuli Gurriel delivered the walk-off hit that lifted the Houston Astros to victory on Thursday in their series opener with the Chicago White Sox at Minute Maid Park.
The clutch at-bat came as no surprise considering Gurriel leads the American League in batting with runners in scoring position.
That George Springer and Marwin Gonzalez contributed to the ninth-inning rally was additionally good news for the Astros (58-31). Springer entered the series with a slash line of .100/.222/.157 since his last multi-hit game on June 10 and was 0-for-4 before muscling a game-tying single to center that scored Tony Kemp. Gonzalez, slashing .098/.193/.157 over his prior 15 games, emerged off the bench and delivered a pinch single that pushed Kemp to third.
“If you’ve been around our team at all the last couple days to weeks, to have George Springer and Marwin Gonzalez be a part of the celebration having contributed the way they did, that’s all they want to do is contribute to something positive,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.
“Yuli should get as much praise as anybody to end the game, but really proud of George and Marwin to get in on the party.”
Right-hander Lance McCullers (9-3.55 ERA) gets the start for the Astros on Friday. He is 1-1 with a 2.60 ERA over three career starts against the White Sox, including an outing on April 22 when he allowed one run on eight hits and one walk with three strikeouts over six innings in a 7-1 win. McCullers twirled seven scoreless innings at Tampa Bay in his previous start and went 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA over five starts last month.
White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (4-5, 3.68) is scheduled to make his 18th start of the season and second against the Astros. He is 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA over his last four road starts. The White Sox are providing Lopez with just 3.95 runs of support, the 15th-lowest mark in the AL. In his lone career start against Houston, Lopez allowed one run over five innings but did not factor into the decision while working opposite of McCullers.
With the non-waiver trade deadline looming at the end of this month and the rebuilding White Sox (30-57) out of contention, attention has shifted to the potential veterans who might be shipped elsewhere before the calendar turns. First baseman Jose Abreu and right fielder Avisail Garcia are popular names bandied about the rumor mill while veteran reliever Joakim Soria has been mentioned as a target for contenders seeking bullpen help.
Soria suffered the loss in the series opener, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks while recording just one out in the ninth inning of a 4-3 loss. The Astros , interestingly, have been reported to potentially have interest in Soria. As for the White Sox, they’re ignoring the noise.
“For us, it’s not something that’s been a topic of conversation,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “So we’re able to allow them to just continue to try to develop and try to improve and get better.”