CHICAGO – Willson Contreras launched a high fastball deep into the center-field bleachers. And just like that, the Chicago Cubs were back on their way to yet another win.
Contreras hit a go-ahead homer, Patrick Wisdom went deep for the third time in two games and the surging Cubs beat San Diego 4-3 on Tuesday night after Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. left with an injury.
Tatis exited because of right oblique tightness. He hit a fly to left field in the sixth inning and was replaced at shortstop in the bottom half by Ha-Seong Kim.
Padres manager Jayce Tingler was encouraged by Tatis' strength and range of motion, and optimistic the slugger will avoid the injured list.
“I think it's too early to tell,” Tingler said. “Just seeing Fernando and the trainers, I am pretty optimistic, for sure, seeing their reaction postgame and seeing the range of motion and talk about the strength, the tests they did. I am optimistic maybe we caught something early before it got bad. But sometimes you wake up, things are different."
The NL Central-leading Cubs are feeling good about themselves after winning for the eighth time in nine games. They secured a series victory against one of baseball's top teams and put themselves in position to complete a three-game sweep.
Not a bad way to start June, after going 19-8 in May. For a team that struggled in April, things sure have turned around.
“We're developing into a really good team, and that's a good feeling,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said.
Wisdom, who homered twice in Monday’s win, and Contreras each hit a long two-run drive against Ryan Weathers (2-2).
Wisdom sent one to the back of the left-field bleachers in the second inning. Contreras put Chicago back on top 4-3 with a 445-foot shot to center in the fifth after former Cub Victor Caratini and Tommy Pham homered against Kyle Hendricks (6-4) in the top half.
Rizzo singled twice for Chicago after missing the previous six games because of back tightness. Kris Bryant went 0 for 4, snapping his 13-game hitting streak.
Hendricks won his fourth straight start. The right-hander went six innings, allowing three runs and seven hits.
Ryan Tepera and Andrew Chafin each pitched a scoreless inning. Craig Kimbrel struck out all three batters in the ninth for his 13th save in 15 chances, delighting the crowd of 24,824.
“We know the talent that we have in this room,” Hendricks said. “It's been like that from the onset. We knew we just weren't playing our best baseball from Day 1. But yeah, this last month-plus, it's really come to form. Yeah, we've got a lot of really good players in there, that's all I can say.”
Weathers allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings. The rookie also singled twice, but the Padres fell to 4-5 on a 10-game trip.
Padres: CF Trent Grisham (bruised left foot) increased his running and might take batting practice Wednesday, Tingler said. The 2020 Gold Glove winner has not played since May 21.
Cubs: OFs Jason Heyward (strained left hamstring) and Jake Marisnick (strained right hamstring) are set to leave Wednesday for rehab assignments with Triple-A Iowa, and the Cubs hope they will rejoin the team in San Francisco this weekend, manager David Ross said. ... INF Matt Duffy (strained lower back) has been taking light swings off a tee, but hasn't been running or taking grounders. ... Ross said the Cubs hope LHP Justin Steele (strained right hamstring strain) throws a bullpen in the next few days. ... RHP Trevor Williams (appendicitis) is scheduled for a follow-up exam on Thursday.
The three-game series wraps up Wednesday with Adbert Alzolay (3-4, 3.81 ERA) starting for Chicago against RHP Dinelson Lamet (1-0, 2.57). Alzolay pitched scoreless ball into the sixth inning of a win over Cincinnati on Friday. Lamet went three innings, allowing two runs, in San Diego's 10-3 victory at Houston last week.
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