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Jun 23, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Ryan Sweeney rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run against the Houston Astros during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Sweeney Leads Rout of Astros, Cubs Win Series

Score early and often must have been the motto on Sunday afternoon in the Cub dugout at Wrigley Field.  The Cubs scored in five of the eight innings they hit,  the second, third, fifth, seventh, and eighth which led them to a season high 14 runs scored.  The Cubs won the game 14-6.

Ryan Sweeney got everything started in the second with a simple ground out that scored Anthony Rizzo.  Then in the third, Nate Schierholtz singled to right and scored Jeff Samardzija and Luis Valbuena.  Rizzo then hit a sac fly that scored Schierholtz, and capping it all off, Sweeney doubled to center to score Schierholtz.  In the fifth, Rizzo singled to score Alfonso Soriano, Sweeney doubled again and scored Rizzo, and Darwin Barney singled to score Sweeney.  In the seventh, Sweeney hit a three run home run that scored Soriano and Rizzo, then Valbuena tripled and scored Scott Hairston.  Rounding all the scoring off for the Cubs was Rizzo when he homered in the eighth with Schierholtz on base.

All in all, three Cubs had three hits (Schierholtz, Rizzo, and Sweeney), and two more had two hits (Soriano and Barney).  This game was by far the best offensive outburst the Cubs have had all year.  Even though it was against a very poor team, its nice to see the sticks come alive a little bit.

Sweeney drove in six runs and Rizzo drove in four and scored four as well.  Sweeney has been a big surprise for Cub fans and I am sure the Cub coaching staff.  Ever since David DeJesus went out with his injury, Sweeney has been fantastic in filling that void.

One Cub who apparently didn’t feel like breaking out of his slump when everyone else was hot was Starlin Castro, Castro had no hits in his four trips.  The problem for the Cubs in the case of Castro is there is nobody else to fill that void if he struggles, which he has.  Castro is the long term solution for the Cubs at shortstop so he has to break out of this funk he is in soon.

Jeff Samardzija pitched very well for the Cubs, Samardzija went seven innings, gave up nine hits, four runs, but just three were earned.  The Cub offense gave Samardzija a ton to work with which helps you calm down as a pitcher and stay focused on the job.  The bullpen was able to do the same thing even though reliever Blake Parker got in a tiny bit of a jam in the ninth, it was no big deal because of what the offense brought to the table.

Obviously the Astro pitching struggled, but their offense was actually very good despite being overshadowed by the Cub offense.  Chris Carter had four hits in five trips, which is very abnormal for him and Jason Castro had three hits in his five at-bats.  Marwin Gonzalez also had a multi hit game for the Astros with his two hits.

Astro starter Jordan Lyles struggled to say the least, he made it through five innings, gave up ten hits, eight runs, but just five were earned.  Reliever Wade Leblanc also struggled, he gave up four runs in just one and two thirds innings pitched.  Pitching wasn’t a strong suit for the Astros today and hasn’t really been all year.

The Cubs off day comes at a very poor time tomorrow because it gives them time to cool down.  They will try to keep that momentum going when they start a three game set at Miller Park against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.. Game time is set for 7:10CT.  The probable starters are set to be, Kyle Lohse (2-6) for the Brewers and Edwin Jackson (3-9) for the Cubs.

Tags: Alfonso Soriano Anthony Rizzo Blake Parker Chicago Cubs Chris Carter Darwin Barney David Dejesus Edwin Jackson Houston Astros Jason Castro Jeff Samardzija Jordan Lyles Kyle Lohse Luis Valbuena Marwin Gonzalez Milwaukee Brewers Nate Schierholtz Ryan Sweeney Scott Hairston Starlin Castro Wade Leblanc

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