Ian Happ and José Quintana are both locked-in right now, and that’s good news for the Chicago Cubs.
Happ hit his second career grand slam, Quintana tossed two-hit ball through seven innings to win his sixth straight decision and the Cubs ripped the Oakland Athletics 10-1 on Wednesday.
Kyle Schwarber hit a three-run homer, Victor Caratini connected and Javier Báez kept up his latest hot streak with two hits and two RBIs as the Cubs responded with a rout of their own after Oakland pounded them 11-4 on Tuesday night. NL Central-leading Chicago took two of three from the A’s and won its fifth in six games.
“Pretty much the exact opposite of the game we played yesterday,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Quintana was primarily responsible for that. Of course Happ and Schwarber did their share.”
Quintana (10-7) allowed one run, struck out seven and walked none. David Phelps and Pedro Strop each followed with a scoreless inning to wrap up a three-hitter.
Even the normally low-key Quintana was upbeat about his outing.
“I felt really good,” Quintana said “My command was amazing. It was a first pitch for strikes most of the time and I changed speeds really good.”
Happ, recalled from Triple-A Iowa on July 26, went deep for second time in three games against Oakland as he made his first start at second base in nearly two years.
“The at-bats have been really good,” said Happ, who is 8 for 25 (.320) in 12 games since being called up. “I feel comfortable up there and just want to keep that rolling.”
Báez was replaced at shortstop by David Bote in the eighth after fouling a pitch of his left leg in the seventh, but Maddon said the All-Star should be all right even if the ball “got him pretty good.”
Last year’s NL MVP runner-up, Báez is batting .478 (11 for 23) with nine RBIs in a six-game hitting streak.
The Athletics got their only run off Quintana in the fourth when Marcus Semien led off with a double and scored on Matt Olson’s sacrifice fly. Oakland lost for just the third time in its last 10.
“Quintana out there today was really good,” Oakland third baseman Matt Chapman said. “He was deceptive, threw strikes, worked quick. He kept guys off balance.”
A’s starter Homer Bailey (9-8) set down nine of the first 10 hitters before Chicago scored five runs in the fourth. The right-hander yielded seven runs in 4 2/3 innings in his fifth start since arriving in a arriving in a trade from Kansas City on July 14.
Báez singled in Chicago’s first run in the fourth to tie at 1 before the Cubs loaded the bases with one out. Batting left-handed, the switch-hitting Happ stroked Bailey’s first pitch into the left-center bleachers to make it 5-1.
Báez singled in another run off Bailey to start Chicago’s four-run fifth. With two runners on, Schwarber muscled his 26th homer, an opposite-field shot to left-center, off reliever Lou Trivino to make it 9-1.
Caratini homered off Blake Treinen in the eighth.
CUBS LAND LUCROY
After the game, Joe Maddon said the Cubs signed catcher Jonathan Lucroy. The 10-year-veteran and two-time All-Star is expected to join the team in Cincinnati on Thursday.
The 33-year-old will pair Caratini behind the plate to help plug a gap created when All-Star Willson Contreras suffered a right hamstring strain on Saturday. Contreras is expected to miss four weeks.
Lucroy was designated for assignment by the Angels last Friday, then cleared waivers and was unconditionally released by Los Angeles on Wednesday. In a corresponding move, Chicago optioned catcher-infielder Taylor Davis to Triple-A Iowa.
Happ’s first grand slam was as a rookie on June 13, 2017, against the Mets at New York.
Athletics: Manager Bob Melvin said LH starter Sean Manaea (left shoulder surgery) might start playing catch Wednesday after he experienced soreness in a rehab start at Triple-A Las Vegas on July 30. Manaea is expected to make at least one more start in the minors. . C Josh Phegley (left thumb contusion) could start playing catch again Wednesday or Thursday. He’s eligible to come off the 10-day IL Aug. 8.
Cubs: Báez crumpled when he fouled a pitch of his left leg. After a trainer attended to him, he finished the at-bat and ran gingerly to first base as he grounded into a double play.
Athletics: Following an off-day, the A’s head across town to start a three-game series against the White Sox on Friday afternoon. Oakland RHP Mike Fiers (10-3, 3.46) faces Chicago LHP Ross Detwiler (1-2, 5.72). Fiers is 8-0 with a 2.26 ERA in 16 starts dating to his no-hitter on May 7 vs. Cincinnati.
Cubs: LHP Cole Hamels (6-3), 2.84) looks to stay on track against Reds LHP Alex Wood (1-0, 3.18) at Cincinnati on Thursday. Hamels pitched five shutout innings versus Milwaukee last Saturday in his return from a five-week stint on the IL, and is 2-2 with a 1.07 ERA in his last seven starts.
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