Baez’s 2 HRs lead break­out

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - BY RUS­SELL DORSEY, STAFF RE­PORTER rdorsey@sun­times.com | @Russ_Dorsey1

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.’’

DUANE BURLESON/GETTY IMAGES

The Cubs’ Javy Baez clubs the first of his two home runs Mon­day against the Tigers in the fourth in­ning.

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