CHICAGO (AP) – It looks like the Chicago Cubs have got their groove back.
Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist hit solo homers, and the Cubs beat the San Francisco Giants 5-1 on Thursday for their third straight win.
Zobrist added two singles as Chicago took three of four games from the Giants and finished a 7-2 homestand. The defending World Series champions went deep 20 times during the nine games and have 26 homers in their last 14.
“We’re starting to hit them,” manager Joe Maddon said. “We have that kind of power on our team. We’re looking like we’re getting in our groove a little bit.”
Heyward went deep for the second time in three games and has a five-game hitting streak since a sprained finger on his right hand caused him to miss 12 games.
“As a group, we did a great job of getting back to keeping it simple and not trying to do too much,” Heyward said. “Just try to take it easy and relax and have a good approach (at the plate). Be aggressive in the strike zone and kind of make them come to us.”
Bryant takes a less technical view of the power surge.
“It feels good to have guys swinging well and obviously the home run balls are nice,” he said.
Spot starter Eddie Butler (2-0) allowed one run and four hits in five innings, rebounding from a sloppy outing last week against Milwaukee, when he walked five over three innings. Mike Montgomery pitched one-hit ball over four innings for his first professional save.
“It was fabulous,” Maddon said of Montgomery’s outing. “To go five and four (innings) like that, we couldn’t have asked for more.”
Jeff Samardzija (1-6) gave up three runs and six hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts. He also gave up three home runs against Arizona in his first start of the season on April 6.
“When you’re facing a lineup like that, you’ve got to be on the whole time,” Samardzija said. “There’s good and there’s bad, but it could’ve been a little better.”
And Samardzija got scant support as San Francisco lost its third straight and finished 3-4 on its trip.
“We got shut down offensively,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “(Samardzija) did a nice job – three runs in seven innings – you’d like to think we can score in this ballpark, get three, four runs. We couldn’t do it.”
Brandon Belt hit an RBI double in the first, but Bryant tied the score in the bottom half with his 11th homer, a drive to left into a 15 mph wind that was caught by a fan with a glove.
Heyward’s leadoff homer in the fifth put the Cubs ahead, and Zobrist connected starting the sixth, a drive halfway up the right-field bleachers.
Josh Osich threw a run-scoring wild pitch in the eighth, and a throwing error by catcher Buster Posey allowed another run to score.
Samardzija went 154 consecutive batters without a walk before putting on Ian Happ with two outs in the sixth.
Zobrist reached base for the 22nd straight game, one shy of his career high set with Tampa Bay in 2011.
To some people, it looked like the fan who caught Bryant’s homer might have reached over the top of Wrigley Field’s bleacher basket. Maddon said he doesn’t think that’s physically possible. Bochy nearly challenged the play for fan interference, but said “the phone (from the team’s video review room) wasn’t working.”
Giants: INF Eduardo Nunez (left hamstring soreness) was scratched from the lineup before the game.
Cubs: SS Addison Russell got the day off and Javier Baez started in his place.
Giants: RHP Matt Cain (3-2, 4.91) faces Atlanta LHP Jaime Garcia (1-3, 4.07) as San Francisco opens a six-game homestand on Friday night.
Cubs: RHP Jake Arrieta (5-3, 4.80) is to start at the Los Angeles Dodgers against LHP Alex Wood (5-0, 1.88) on Friday night. Arrieta allowed just one unearned run in six innings in his last start after a string of sub-par outings when he gave up 21 earned runs over 26 innings. Wood has pitched 18 1/3 straight scoreless innings.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.