Russell’s 9th-inning homer lifts Cubs past Orioles 9-8
BALTIMORE (AP) — Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon said his team is going to lean heavily on its offense to make a strong push for the playoffs.
His players responded to that challenge.
Addison Russell hit a solo home run in the ninth inning and the Cubs beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-8 after squandering an eight-run lead on Friday night.
“Under the circumstances of how that game was played tonight, it was really good to finish it off,” Maddon said. “We hit the ball all over the place. I thought we did a nice job of spreading it around. I thought we did a better job of putting the ball in play. Our approach was pretty good.”
Mark Trumbo tied the game 8-8 with a two-run homer off Koji Uehara (3-4) in the eighth. Russell responded when he hit a first-pitch, 96 mph fastball off Brad Brach (2-2) over the left field fence.
“It feels good to come out with that win,” Russell said. “It’s huge. I feel like, as a team, we know the type of goals that we have to hit. We’re trying to be at the top.”
Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber hit back-to-back homers in a four-run first inning for Chicago. Ben Zobrist also homered onto the flag court behind the right field scoreboard and Jason Heyward reached Eutaw Street with another towering shot.
Chicago improved to 3-6 in interleague play after going 15-5 against the AL last season.
Welington Castillo’s ninth home run was a solo shot in the third for Baltimore, which left 10 runners on base. Trumbo went 2 for 3 with three RBIs.
“We need to play good baseball, obviously win, but show some of the signs of life that we did tonight,” Trumbo said. “We did everything we could for it to go our way, but they just did a little bit better.”
Contreras provided a 3-0 lead with a homer into the Cubs’ bullpen. Schwarber hammered Kevin Gausman’s next pitch to almost the exact spot.
“It’s frustrating,” Gausman said. “Obviously, I wanted to come out here and hit the ground running going into this second half. It was just bad.”
Zobrist and Heyward hit two-run homers in the second and third, respectively, to boost the margin to 8-0. Gausman tied a career-high by allowing eight runs and seven hits over three innings. He also gave up four home runs — the most of his career.
Trumbo, Trey Mancini and Joey Rickard had RBI singles in the fifth off reliever Justin Grimm to cut the lead to 8-6.
The Cubs were playing at Camden Yards for the first time since June 12, 2003. Chicago took two of three games in that series.
Cubs: To make room for LHP Jose Quintana, who was acquired from the White Sox on Thursday, RHP Dylan Floro was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.
Orioles: OF Craig Gentry cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Norfolk.
Orioles: 1B Chris Davis (strained right oblique) returned from the 10-day DL and went 1 for 5 with an RBI double in the fourth. ... INF Ryan Flaherty (right shoulder inflammation) could begin a rehab assignment by the end of next week.
Cubs: RHP Jake Arrieta (8-7, 4.35 ERA) will make his second career start against his former team. He previously beat the Orioles on Aug. 22, 2014, when he allowed one run over seven innings.
Orioles: LHP Wade Miley (4-7, 4.97 ERA) is looking to build off his previous start when he gave up one run and eight hits over 5 2/3 innings against the Twins. Miley is second in the AL with 51 walks.