Cubs pound out 20 hits, beat Twins 14-9
By John Jackson
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Saturday’s sweltering conditions at Wrigley Field were the worst he’s experienced during a major league game.
The Minnesota Twins were in no position to disagree.
Minnesota’s Eddie Rosario, Bobby Wilson and Max Kepler all left early because of heat illness on a scorching afternoon, and the Cubs beat the Twins 14-9.
Rosario homered in the top of the fifth inning, then was pulled from left field shortly after fielding a hit by Anthony Rizzo in the bottom half. The Cubs said it was 96 degrees at the time with a heat index of 107 — that’s a calculation of how hot it actually feels, with the humidity factored in.
“That was a pretty brutal day,” Maddon said. “If you put that on AstroTurf, that would have been like the worst ever.”
There was a short break in the sixth after Wilson drew a walk. A couple of cups of water were brought out for him to sip and douse himself to cool off. Wilson eventually scored and was replaced at catcher after the inning ended with the score tied at 9.
“I just couldn’t catch my breath,” he said. “My heart was fluttering. I felt dizzy. Started getting a headache. Just couldn’t even hold a conversation in the dugout.”
All three Twins players were treated with IVs.
Jason Heyward had four of the Cubs’ 20 hits, Ben Zobrist had three RBIs and Chicago had a pair of five-run innings. The Cubs rallied from 3-0 and 7-4 deficits and have scored at least 10 runs in three straight games for the first time since April 2003.
Albert Almora Jr. had three hits and drove in two runs as the Cubs won their third in a row. He exited in the fifth after experiencing leg cramps related to dehydration.
Joe Mauer had two hits and three RBIs for the Twins.
Plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt worked with a towel draped around his neck and frequently left the field between innings.
“It was just tough,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. “We couldn’t keep them off base. There were a lot of singles. They kept hitting them in the right spot.”
Chicago broke open a tie game with a five-run seventh.
David Bote led off with a walk and Ian Happ doubled off reliever Trevor Hildenberger (1-2). It was Chicago’s 15th hit to that point — and first extra-base hit despite the wind blowing out.
“Home runs are pretty cool,” Almora said, “but the way we produced runs today was special.”
After pinch-hitter Kyle Schwarber was intentionally walked to load the bases, Heyward hit a soft liner that just scooted over the head of shortstop Ehire Adrianza — with the infield playing in — for an RBI single and a 10-9 lead Baez hit a grounder up the middle, just out of Adrianza’s reach with the infield playing in, for two more runs.
Justin Wilson (2-2) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.
Willians Astudillo, primarily a catcher in the minors, made his major league debut — replacing Rosario — and wound up playing center field for the Twins, his first time at that spot as a pro. He hit an RBI single in his first at-bat.
“I just went out and had fun,” Astudillo said through a translator. “It’s just great to be here.”
Twins: CF Byron Buxton (fractured left big toe) has been on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester since June 19 and there’s no timetable for when he’ll be activated from the DL. Buxton was hitting .206 with a homer and four RBIs in nine games with Rochester before Saturday. If he continues to struggle, there’s a chance he could be optioned to Rochester when his rehab assignment ends on July 8.
Cubs: RHP Carl Edwards Jr. (right shoulder inflammation) threw 19 pitches and got two outs during a rehab outing with Triple-A Iowa on Friday. Maddon said the reports were positive and that his “velocity was normal.” Edwards is expected to pitch again either Sunday or Monday.
LHP Jon Lester (10-2, 2.18 ERA) opens the July schedule after winning all five of his June starts, compiling a 1.13 ERA during that stretch. RHP Lance Lynn (5-6, 4.81) starts the finale of the three-game series for the Twins.