The Cubs have insisted over and over again they're feeling good at the plate, even if the results haven't been there.
Relief — and justification — was swift Sunday, as the Cubs put on an offensive show in a 8-3 win over the Phillies in front of 26,712 at Wrigley Field.
Rick Renteria played around with the lineup and it paid off. The Cubs scored four runs in each the first and sixth innings. Ryan Kalish, hitting second, led the charge with a double, triple, two walks, two runs and three RBI.
"It was nice. A lot of production today," Renteria said. "A lot of well-struck balls, a lot of good at-bats up and down the lineup. It was a good day.
"They've strung together some good at-bats over the course of the last five-six days, but we just haven't had much to show for it. Today, we happened to have some balls find the holes and we took advantage of it."
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Anthony Rizzo singled twice, walked and picked up a two-out RBI in the sixth inning. Starlin Castro also delivered an RBI double in the first. A day after he picked up three hits in the two-hole, Renteria dropped Castro to sixth in the order and the manager said the 24-year-old shortstop might hit all over the Cubs lineup.
For his part, Castro said he was up for anything.
"I'm good. Whatever spot he puts me that he thinks I can do a good job with, I'm on it," Castro said, calling the Cubs' offensive breakout "awesome." "We've been waiting for that for a long time...Today is a really good day."
The Cubs only had six hits, but took full advantage of seven walks, a hit-by-pitch and a big, three-base error from Phillies centerfielder Ben Revere. Every Cubs starter either drove in or scored a run, providing all the offense starter Carlos Villanueva and the bullpen needed.
Villanueva, who pitched in relief in the Cubs' first two games, battled through five innings, allowing six hits and one run. He worked around a crucial error by Castro and maintained what Renteria called Villanueva's "so what?" approach, refusing to let anything rattle him.
"How 'bout that guy? We use him twice in Pittsburgh and he comes back and gets us out of a jam," Renteria said. "I was impressed at how he did that as much as anything...pitching out of jams and not worrying about when something happens. He kept pitching and kept us in the game and the guys continued to contribute."
[WATCH: Villanueva: We looked good today]
Brian Schlitter and Hector Rondon combined for three scoreless innings in relief before things fell apart a little bit in the ninth. Cubs close Jose Veras walked four batters and let in two runs, but Pedro Strop came in to shut the door and preserve the victory.
After having to hear about the lack of offense every day for the first week of the 2014 season, the Cubs can relax heading into a day off before Pittsburgh comes to town. The weight is off their shoulders...for now.
"They'll have an opportunity to get some rest with a day off tomorrow," Renteria said. "It's nice to go into the break with a day off and that mindset is very positive."