Baez hits 2-run HR, Russell adds slam as Cubs rout White Sox
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Cubs saved their scoring and drama until the later innings. Aroldis Chapman then capped it in his Cubs' debut, even in a non-save situation.
Javier Baez hit a tiebreaking two-run homer deep into Wrigley Field's left bleachers in the seventh, Addison Russell added a grand slam in a five-run eighth and the Cubs beat the White Sox 8-1 on Wednesday night.
Jason Hammel (10-5) allowed one run and five hits while striking out seven in seven innings. Hector Rondon pitched a perfect eighth, and Chapman pitched a 1-2-3 ninth – striking out Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia – while hitting speeds of 103 mph.
The sellout crowd of 41,116 buzzed when the hard-throwing lefty entered the game. Afterward, Chapman's teammates were talking as much about him as the late homers.
''I thought we were getting a guy who threw 105. We only got 103,'' Hammel joked. ''That's impressive, jaw-dropping to see.''
Chapman had 20 saves in 21 chances this season with the Yankees before the Cubs acquired the hard-throwing lefty on Monday for a package of prospects.
Manager Joe Maddon said it was easier for Chapman to debut when the game wasn't on the line, especially after the lefty struggled answering reporters' questions on Tuesday related to an altercation last year with his girlfriend and ensuing 29-game suspension.
''Good for him to get through the last couple of days and get out there,'' Maddon said.
Chapman first balked at talking to reporters after the game, but after some negotiations, catcher Miguel Montero served as his translator.
''The adrenaline was pretty good even though it wasn't a save situation,'' Chapman said. ''It was fun to hear the crowd cheering.''
Baez went deep on a full-count pitch against Anthony Ranaudo (1-1) to chase the right-hander in his White Sox debut.
Ranaudo didn't allow a hit until Kris Bryant's solo homer with one out in the sixth tie the score 1-1. Bryant's 26th homer matched his total last season when he was NL Rookie of the Year.
''Definitely something I'll remember the rest of my life,'' Ranaudo said. ''The way the game kind of turned, that kind of took a bad turn for us.''
After Ben Zobrist's RBI double in the eighth, Russell followed two hitters later with his 12th homer to help the Cubs end a two-game slide and snap the White Sox's four-game winning streak.
Ranaudo allowed three runs and two hits – both homers – in 6 2/3 innings and smacked an opposite-field homer in the fifth for his first major league hit to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead.
The 6-foot-7 Ranaudo, acquired from Texas on May 12, was 5-3 with 3.20 ERA at Triple-A Charlotte in 13 starts. In two games with the Rangers this season, the 26-year-old righty was 1-0, but had a 17.18 ERA and walked eight.
The White Sox beat the Cubs 5-4 and 3-0 in the first two games of the crosstown series. The fourth game is Thursday night.
Ranaudo's homer was the first by a White Sox pitcher since Mark Buehrle went deep on June 14, 2009, at Milwaukee.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura expects nothing unusual when ace Chris Sale starts the finale of the crosstown series with the Cubs on Thursday night after serving a five-game suspension for destroying the White Sox 1976 vintage uniforms and being scratched minutes before his last scheduled start on Saturday.
''I think it's going to be fine,'' Ventura said. ''Players always have their teammates' backs, and that's no different with our clubhouse.''
With Chapman's arrival, Rondon, the Cubs' former finisher, figures to shift to a set-up role.
''I think this opens him up to just pitching and not trying to throw 97 on edges all the time and really being concerned about making a mistake,'' manager Joe Maddon said. ''I think this going to free him up a little bit.''
White Sox: 2B Brett Lawrie (strained left hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 22. INF Carlos Sanchez was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte. … LHP Carlos Rodon (sprained left wrist) threw a side session Wednesday that went well, Ventura said. He could possibly start Sunday against the Twins or Tuesday against the Tigers.
Cubs: Maddon said OF Jorge Soler (left hamstring), currently on a rehab stint at Triple-A Iowa, ''is on the verge of coming back.''
White Sox: LHP Sale (14-3, 3.18) tries for a third time to become the majors' first 15-game winner. After reaching 14 wins on July 2 at Houston, Sale gave up eight runs in a loss to Atlanta in his final game before the All-Star break. In his only start after the break, he tossed eight innings of one-hit ball at Seattle – and exited with a 3-0 lead – but closer David Robertson allowed four runs the in the ninth.
Cubs: RHP John Lackey (7-7, 3.79) has dropped five straight decisions since his last win on June 8 at Philadelphia. In his last six starts, Lackey has a 6.38 ERA.