Baez’s 2 HRs lead breakout
Get runners on base, move them over and get them in. That’s what the Cubs’ offense looks like when it’s going right.
Even after the Cubs’ victory Sunday against the White Sox, their offense still didn’t have that signature look. While the Cubs were able to get runners on base, driving them in was easier said than done.
But the Cubs found their groove and made it a long night for the Tigers in a 9-3 victory Monday at Comerica Park.
‘‘That’s what we work for,’’ shortstop Javy Baez said.
It had been awhile since the Cubs had a big game offensively. With much of the lineup struggling, it also had been awhile since they had a big inning.
But they were able to do both against the Tigers, opening the scoring with a two-run second inning on the strength of RBI singles by David Bote and Nico Hoerner.
They had an even bigger fourth, with Bote leading off the four-run inning with a towering 455-foot home run.
Baez wouldn’t be left out of the fun, either. After he had a hit in each game last weekend against the Sox, manager David Ross said he felt a breakout coming despite Baez’s recent struggles.
‘‘There were a couple of games early on — before we had the [COVID] layoff from St. Louis — that [Baez] had a couple of base hits to the right side, some ground balls where you felt like he was starting to get on track and kind of backing the ball up a little bit,’’ Ross said before the game. ‘‘I saw them [Sunday] a little bit, the last couple of games. He’s been a little bit more patient.’’
Baez had the same plan in mind against the Tigers. He lined a base hit up the middle in his second at-bat, then smashed a 420-foot homer to the right-field seats to cap the four-run fourth and give the Cubs a 6-1 lead.
And Baez wasn’t done with his big game, adding to the Cubs’ lead by drilling his second homer of the night in the eighth. He finished 3-for-5.
‘‘I know I’ve been struggling, but I don’t stop,’’ Baez said. ‘‘I don’t stop trying to get better, and today we finally got the result . . . . We are going to fail a lot, and there’s a lot of pressure with the short season and all this stuff. But the thing is to control that pressure when the big situations are there.’’
Baez wasn’t the only Cubs player to use the opposite-field approach, either. Nine of the Cubs’ 12 hits were up the middle or to the opposite field.
‘‘Guys have bought in and they’re working, and I think that you’re seeing it pay off,’’ Ross said of his team’s approach.
‘‘You love to see that,’’ said Bote, who also finished 3-for-5. ‘‘Anytime you hit the ball the other way, it means you’re on it longer. ... When you’re seeing the ball, you’re driving it the other way, too.’’
The Cubs’ Javy Baez clubs the first of his two home runs Monday against the Tigers in the fourth inning.