Russell homers, Cubs end Rockies’ 7-game winning streak, 7-5
CHICAGO — Stuck in a season-long slump, Addison Russell helped the World Series champions get back to the .500 mark.
Russell had a go-ahead home run for his first big contribution since an absence in the wake of a Major League Baseball investigation into domestic abuse allegations, and the Chicago Cubs stopped the Colorado Rockies’ seven-game winning streak, 7-5 Sunday.
Russell and Kyle Schwarber had back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning. Miguel Montero and Ben Zobrist also connected, helping the Cubs even get to 31-31.
This was Russell’s second game since missing the first two games of the series. The MLB investigation began after claims of abuse against his wife were levied in a since-deleted social media post.
“It was pretty big, and then Schwarber coming up behind me and adding on,” Russell said. “It feels good to see some success, a little bit. I definitely want to bask in it a little bit, but tomorrow is going to be another day.”
Reliever Jordan Lyles (0-2) gave up both homers in the sixth. The NL West-leading Rockies ended their longest winning string since 2013.
Carl Edwards Jr. (2-0) won in relief of starter Jake Arrieta. Wade Davis gave up a run in the ninth before getting his 13th save in 13 chances as the Cubs snapped a four-game losing streak.
Russell, batting just .213, put the Cubs ahead 5-4 with his fourth home run. Schwarber, hitting only .171, followed with a pinch-hit drive for his 11th homer.
“It’s all about confidence, man,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “As we continue to rebuild their confidence and they get it back, you’re going to see a lot more of that. It’s that simple.”
Schwarber’s towering fly to right field earned him a curtain call from the Wrigley Field fans on a 91-degree day.
“Addy got the hanging breaking ball and I was able to get a heater down and in. We had good at-bats pretty much the whole day, just watching,” Schwarber said. “It’s definitely a positive step to see our guys put up really good competitive at-bats.”
Colorado rookie Antonio Senzatela labored through four innings, striking out six. He allowed four runs before getting an out in the first as Anthony Rizzo had an RBI double on a 10-pitch at-bat and Zobrist hit a three-run homer.
The Rockies responded with four runs in the fifth inning, all charged to Arrieta.
DJ LeMahieu walked with the bases loaded and, after Carlos Gonzalez was ejected arguing a called third strike, Mark Reynolds lined an RBI single to make it 4-2.
Edwards relieved and allowed a tying, two-run single by Ian Desmond.
Montero homered in the eighth. LeMahieu added an RBI single in the ninth before Davis got Alexi Amarista to pop out to end it. Amarista replaced Gonzalez after the ejection by umpire Marvin Hudson.
“It was a bad pitch. I said a few words he didn’t like. He tossed me. As simple as that,” Gonzalez said. “I think the whole situation, too, we got runners on, I got bases loaded, opportunity to keep the inning going, help the team score runs, so that’s what really frustrated me.”
The four runs Senzatela allowed without getting an out in the first were the most he’s allowed in an inning in his career, which is 13 starts old. His seven hits allowed also tied a career high.
Maddon said sometimes less information is more helpful to young hitters who are struggling, as Schwarber has been lately.
“Lately, I’m certain that Uber drivers have been telling him how to hit,” Maddon said. “That’s just how it works.”
Rockies: C Tom Murphy (forearm fracture) is about 7-10 days from returning, Black said.
Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (7-3, 3.34 ERA) opens a three-game series in Pittsburgh on Monday, hoping to improve to 5-0 on the road this season.
Cubs: RHP John Lackey (4-6, 5.12) has lost three straight starts and begins a three-game series and six-game road trip Monday against the New York Mets. The Cubs play 17 of their next 20 games on the road.