Cubs offense explodes to salvage a win in Crosstown finale

Cubs offense explodes to salvage a win in Crosstown finale
May 8, 2014, 11:15 pm
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Tony Andracki

Maybe all the Cubs needed was to face Scott Carroll.

After collecting just 12 hits and scoring five runs in the previous three games of Crosstown, the Cubs exploded for 15 hits in a 12-4 win over the White Sox in front of 26,332 at U.S. Cellular Field in the Crosstown finale.

"It's one we needed," Cubs third baseman Mike Olt said simply.

Carroll, the feel-good story in Chicago a week ago, surrendered 11 hits and six runs to a Cubs offense that had been dormant for four days. He and three White Sox relievers also walked six Cubs hitters and hit four guys. An error by Alexei Ramirez meant the Cubs totaled 26 baserunners Thursday night after recording just 22 runners in the first three games of the series.

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The 15 runs were a season high for the North Siders and the three homers and 15 hits tied season bests. The five runs the Cubs scored in the eighth inning matched the team's total from the 30 innings played in the Crosstown series coming into Thursday's game.

"Good at-bats. Big at-bats in key situations," manager Rick Renteria said. "Good day. ... They swung the bat well. We had some good at-bats in general across the board in this game.

"Hopefully we take that same approach again. I don't know that we generate as many runs, but the approaches were really good today."

Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro and potential core player Mike Olt led the offensive charge, each recording a homer, driving in eight runs combined. Olt's grand slam in the eighth was the knockout blow for the Cubs.

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Ryan Kalish (triple, single, run), Nate Schierholtz (triple, single, two runs) and Junior Lake (two singles, walk, RBI) joined Rizzo (three hits, walk) and Olt (two hits, HBP) as Cubs with multi-hit games.

Jake Arrieta, making his second start off the disabled list after a shoulder injury, didn't have the best outing, but kept the Cubs in the game.

"Not quite as sharp today," Renteria said of his starter. "Had to work extensively through all four innings. Only his second outing, though.

"It's best to just take care of him. He got up to 81 pitches. We didn't want to take a chance and he go out there, laboring, so we just made a change."

Arrieta came out after four innings and gave up four runs (three earned) on nine hits and a walk.

"To give up those four in four innings and then have them shut the door and our offense continue to pile on, that's huge for us," Arrieta said postgame, while giving props to his bullpen.

Brian Schlitter, Zac Rosscup and Neil Ramirez shut the door in relief (3 IP, H, BB, 4 Ks) before Justin Grimm gave up a run on three two-out hits and a walk in the ninth. He was pulled for Wesley Wright, who struck out Alejandro De Aza to end the game.

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"[The hitting] takes the pressure off the pitchers," Rizzo said. "They're not coming into a one-run game. ... They can get away with a little bit more and not have to stress as much.

"Hopefully this does start something. We had a great day and we're going to come in tomorrow and try to do the same thing."