By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — Youth was served for the Cubs on Sunday by a pair of struggling hitters.READ MORE: Oak Park Condo Owners Say Repair Work Has Gone Nowhere After More Than A Year And A Half, Despite Hefty Fees To Contractor
The Cubs avoided a four-game sweep with a 7-5 win against the Rockies at Wrigley Field as they got homers from the scuffling Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber in the sixth inning to break a 4-4 tie.
Riding a four-game losing streak and with 17 of the Cubs’ next 20 games on the road, manager Joe Maddon managed the game with a playoff-like mindset. After the Cubs jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning on the strength of Ben Zobrist’s three-run homer, Maddon pulled right-hander Jake Arrieta in favor of reliever Carl Edwards Jr. with the Cubs leading 4-2 with one out in the fifth inning as the Rockies had the bases loaded. Arrieta had been hampered by a cut on his right thumb, which he said he suffered a week ago.
Edwards allowed a game-tying two-run single by Ian Desmond but did good work after that.
“When you have a lead like that, you don’t want to relinquish it,” Maddon said. “In my mind the best guy to get a strikeout there was C.J. He gave up a groundball base hit. He pitched well. He really did great.”
Edwards earned the win thanks to his 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief and Russell and Schwarber coming through in the sixth inning. Both have been in season-long slumps. Russell’s solo shot put the Cubs up 5-4 before Schwarber pinch hit and drilled his lined shot into the seats below the video board in right field. Both came off Rockies reliever Jordan Lyles.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Low 20s Monday Night; Arctic Cold Front Coming Wednesday Morning
“The home run was big especially with Schwarber doing the same after me,” Russell said. “I certainly wanted to bask in it a little bit. That said, tomorrow will be another day.”
It was Russell’s first difference-making on-field contribution since he was accused by a third party on social media of domestically abusing his wife last Wednesday. It’s an allegations he’s denied. Russell had recently sat out three games and was in a 13-of-95 slump.
Schwarber had been in a 9-of-78 slump himself before pinch hitting and homering for Edwards.
They were the first back-to-back homers from the Cubs in 2017 and helped Chicago get back to .500 at 31-31. The Cubs open a three-game series at the Mets on Monday.
“This was definitely a positive step today,” Schwarber said of he and Russell stepping up. “We were both just trying to get a good pitch to hit. Addy got a hanging breaking ball. I was able to get to a heater down and in. We had good at-bats all day. We are going to take this as a positive and move on.”MORE NEWS: View Live Radar
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.