Slumping Kyle Schwarber delivers key hit in Chicago Cubs' 7-4 win over Boston Red Sox

By Gethin Coolbaugh, The Sports Xchange
Slumping Kyle Schwarber delivers key hit in Chicago Cubs' 7-4 win over Boston Red Sox
Chicago Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber (12) celebrates with first baseman Anthony Rizzo after scoring. File photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo

BOSTON -- Kyle Schwarber pulled off a pretty good David Ortiz impression on Saturday.

Schwarber, the Cubs' designated hitter for their interleague series with the Red Sox in Boston, channeled the recently retired DH and drove in the winning run in the late innings of Chicago's 7-4 win over Boston at Fenway Park.


"It's great to see him hang in there like that," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Schwarber, whose RBI single propelled Chicago's three-run seventh. "He's been struggling a bit, a lot of swing and miss going on."

Schwarber hadn't exactly been lighting the world on fire before that, going 1-for-8 with four strikeouts to open the series before his heroics.

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He has fanned 34 times through 23 games, placing him among the major league leaders in strikeouts thus far.


"He's like a shooting guard in basketball. He's got to keep swinging, man. Got to keep shooting," Maddon said. "It's going to come to him, and when it does, the ball's going to fly really far."

Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer, Miguel Montero and Ben Zobrist each added solo shots and Zobrist had another RBI for Chicago (13-10), which pulled even in its three-game series with Boston after Friday's 5-4 loss.

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It was the first Fenway homer for Rizzo, once a top prospect in the Red Sox's system.

Cubs right-hander John Lackey (2-3) gave up four runs and eight hits -- two homers -- and a walk with four strikeouts in six innings.

Lackey, who spent three-plus seasons with Boston, was making his first start at Fenway since being traded by the Red Sox to St. Louis in July 2014.

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"He's a pretty special teammate to play with," Lackey's former teammate Dustin Pedroia said. "He always gives his team a chance to win and that's what happened today. They just put a couple more up than we did."


But emotions weren't exactly bogging Lackey down.

"Not really. I've done it a couple other places," Lackey said of pitching at one of his former team's ballparks. "If it had been the first time (I've left) somewhere, it'd have probably been a little different, but I'm trying to win a game."

Chicago's Wade Davis captured his sixth save of the season with a scoreless ninth, striking out three.

Kris Bryant's second-inning double extended his hitting streak to 10 games for the Cubs.

Hanley Ramirez and Andrew Benintendi cracked homers for Boston (12-11), with Benintendi adding another RBI and Jackie Bradley Jr. also driving in a run.

Like Lackey, Red Sox right-hander Steven Wright (1-3) coughed up two homers. The knuckleballer allowed five runs, seven hits and a walk while striking out four in 6 1/3 innings.

Wright has surrendered nine homers this year after giving up only 12 last season, but Boston manager John Farrell insists he sees a pitcher on the upswing.

"I think with the exception of the 0-2 slow knuckleball that Steven threw to Rizzo (on the homer), this was his best knuckleball that he's had to date," Farrell said.


Schwarber broke a 4-4 tie with his bloop single to center to open the scoring in the seventh, plating Jon Jay from second.

Rizzo followed with a dribbler to first, which Boston first baseman Mitch Moreland fired to shortstop Xander Bogaerts at second for an out.

But Bogaerts made an ill-advised throw to reliever Ben Taylor as he covered first, and the ball sailed to the Red Sox dugout fence to allow Schwarber to trot home on the error.

Zobrist padded the lead with his solo shot into the Green Monster seats in left field with two outs in the ninth.

Boston built a 3-0 lead after Bradley's RBI single in the second, Benintendi's sacrifice fly in the third and Ramirez's solo shot over the Monster later in the inning.

Ramirez's homer was tracked at approximately 469 feet, the longest of the season at Fenway.

Rizzo shot his homer, his sixth of the year, over the Cubs' bullpen in right to bring Chicago within 3-2 in the fourth.

Benintendi restored Boston's two-run lead with his first-pitch blast off Lackey in the fifth.

But the Cubs again battled back to tie it as Zobrist's RBI groundout in the sixth made it a one-run game and Montero's leadoff homer in the seventh pulled them even.


NOTES: Chicago had not faced a knuckleballer before Saturday since May 26, 2011 vs. Toronto's R.A. Dickey, according to Fangraphs. "It'll probably be like some of those Wiffle ball games that I played in the cul-de-sac," the Cubs' Kris Bryant told before the game. ... Boston LHP David Price (left elbow strain) threw 30 pitches over two simulated innings Saturday in which he faced live hitters for the first time since his spring training injury. He will throw a light bullpen session Monday. ... RHP Joe Kelly's 102.1 mph fastball on a 1-1 count to Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo in Friday's seventh inning tied Daniel Bard's July 30, 2009, offering as the fastest pitch in Red Sox history, according to Pitch FX. ... Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks (2-1, 4.50 ERA) opposes Red Sox LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (1-1, 3.12 ERA) in Sunday's series finale.

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