Ben Zobrist, Willson Contreras help Chicago Cubs beat Chicago White Sox

By Jack McCarthy, The Sports Xchange
Chicago Cubs' Ben Zobrist hits a base hit. File photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI
Chicago Cubs' Ben Zobrist hits a base hit. File photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo

CHICAGO -- It may be something as simple as a good night's sleep, but the versatile Ben Zobrist may be most dangerous when he is rested.

At least that's the theory of Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon after Zobrist reached base four times -- including his 500th career extra-base hit -- to help his team to a 7-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday at Wrigley Field.


"When he's rested, you're going to get that kind of game out of him," said Maddon as the Cubs split the two-game home portion of a four-game city series. "That's why it's so important to keep him in that shape, that mental balance by being fresh. And he was definitely fresh today."

Zobrist went 3-for-4 with two doubles plus a walk, an RBI and a stolen base. Willson Contreras was 3-for-5 with four RBIs, including a three-run homer, his 16th of the season.


Cubs starter John Lackey (7-9) made it back-to-back victories since coming off the disabled list with a successful five-plus inning outing. White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon (1-4) suffered his third straight loss.

"Eleven strikeouts today (but) high pitch counts," said White Sox manager Rick Renteria of Rodon. "The efficiency wasn't there, but he was still able to do a lot. They put a couple balls in play and scored some runs, but all in all his stuff was pretty good. It's lively, his ball is moving a lot."

The Cubs (52-47) won for the ninth time in 11 games since the All-Star break. The White Sox (39-58) have dropped 10 of their last 11.

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Zobrist doubled down the third base line for his milestone extra-base hit to lead off the Cubs' first inning. After a one-out walk to Anthony Rizzo, Contreras launched an 0-1 pitch from Rodon to left for a three-run homer and a 3-0 lead.

The White Sox replied with two runs in the second as Tim Anderson and Omar Narvaez each reached on singles with one out, and Rodon helped his cause with a two-base hit to deep center to score both with his first major league hit.


Zobrist doubled again in the second, this time driving in Addison Russell from second with one out to extend the Cubs' lead to 4-2. Rodon limited further damage by striking out Kris Bryant and Rizzo.

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Bryant was ejected in the fourth inning after arguing calls with home plate umpire Lance Barksdale.

Rodon worked four innings before right-hander Chris Beck entered in relief in the fifth. Rodon allowed four runs on seven hits, walked three and struck out a career high-tying 11.

Lackey walked Narvaez and gave up a double to right to Adam Engel with none out in the sixth to leave runners at second and third and end his day.

Carl Edwards Jr. entered and quelled the threat by striking out Tyler Saladino and Jose Abreu in a 1-2-3 relief inning.

"That's the game changer, that was the linchpin to the victory right there," said Maddon.

"He's still growing into becoming one of the best relief pitchers in the National League, but the strikeout with Abreu was very emotional for him. I think that's probably going to set him up going forward."


Lackey allowed two runs on five hits in five-plus innings. He struck out five and walked a pair.

The Cubs added two sixth-inning runs. Contreras singled to shallow center off Beck, driving home John Jay for a 5-2 lead. Beck then loaded the bases with a walk to Ian Happ and was pulled in favor of right-hander Gregory Infante.

Albert Almora Jr. greeted Infante with a sacrifice fly to left that drove in Rizzo for a 6-2 lead. Almora 's one-out double in the eighth brought home Happ from second to make it 7-2.

It was an occasionally ugly game as Lackey hit four White Sox batters, including three in a scoreless fifth. One White Sox batter was also hit by a pitch but there were no temper flareups and Lackey insisted he wasn't deliberately aiming at batters.

"If you look at the game, he didn't have any control inside all day, he threw a lot of balls way in, including mine," said White Sox third baseman Matt Davidson, who was hit in the fifth. "I don't think he was trying hit three guys in a row."

NOTES: White Sox rookie 3B Matt Davidson clubbed his 19th homer on Monday and is on pace to hit 32, which would rank third most by a White Sox rookie. ... Reliever Anthony Swarzak had made 225 career relief appearances without a save prior to Monday, when he earned the save in his 226th, a 3-1 White Sox victory. ... The White Sox will send RHP James Shields (2-2, 5.79 ERA) against Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta (9-7, 4.11 ERA) on Wednesday as the annual city series moves to Guaranteed Rate Field for night games on Wednesday and Thursday. ... After RF Ben Zobrist collected his 500th extra-base hit on Tuesday, the next individual goal for a Cub is by Jason Heyward, who needs eight hits to reach 1,000 for his career. Heyward had Tuesday off. ... The Cubs improved to 6-7 in interleague play while the White Sox are 4-9.


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