CHICAGO (AP)With every long drive, every sharp play in the field, Patrick Wisdom is making the most of his best big league opportunity with the Chicago Cubs.
Wisdom backed Alec Mills with two more homers and the Cubs beat the Chicago White Sox for the first time this season, winning 7-0 on Saturday night.
”What he’s doing is so impressive,” Cubs manager David Ross said. ”When he touches the ball, it just doesn’t come down. It explodes off his bat.”
Rafael Ortega connected for a grand slam against Lance Lynn as the fourth-place Cubs improved to 6-19 in August. They dropped their first four games against the crosstown White Sox this year, including an ugly 17-13 loss Friday night.
Mills (6-6) worked into the ninth inning in his first win since Aug. 4. He left with one out and runners on first and second, and Codi Heuer finished the four-hitter against his former team.
Wisdom hit solo drives in the fourth and fifth innings in his fourth career multihomer game – all coming this season. He also went deep twice Friday night on his 30th birthday.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the first rookie in franchise history to post consecutive multihomer games.
”I think it’s just kind of slowing things down, you know, taking it pitch by pitch,” said Wisdom, who also robbed Tim Anderson of a hit with a nice play at third in the third. ”I get frustrated with a certain at-bat and I got to flush it and move on.”
Wisdom has seven homers in his last eight games overall and 25 – tops among NL rookies – in 82 games on the year. He had four homers in 43 big league games coming into this season.
”I mean it’s unbelievable,” Mills said. ”Obviously, you know I think in other spots he wasn’t given the most chances. In a situation like this, given everyday playing time and stuff, it’s special to watch.”
The White Sox had won three of four, scoring in double digits in consecutive games for the first time since April 2017. But the AL Central leaders were shut down by Mills in by far his best outing of the year.
The 29-year-old right-hander struck out three and walked two. He threw 103 pitches, 59 for strikes.
He had lost his last two starts, yielding nine runs and 19 hits in 9 2/3 innings.
”I think you’ve got to give credit to Mills,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. ”Sixth, seventh, eighth, and he didn’t have many pitches. He was attacking the strike zone.”
After Wisdom connected in the fourth, the Cubs loaded the bases on two walks and Robinson Chirinos’ single. Ortega then drove an 0-2 pitch from Lynn deep to right for his eighth homer of the season and No. 11 in 216 big league games overall.
It was the second career slam for Ortega, who also hit one for the Braves against the Dodgers on Aug. 18, 2019.
Lynn (10-4) allowed a season-high seven runs in five innings in his first loss since June 19. The All-Star right-hander struck out seven and walked two.
”Over the course of the year I’ve been able to make pitches when I needed to. Tonight wasn’t one of those nights,” Lynn said.
”Every once in a while you need a slap in the face to get yourself going, and tonight was definitely one of those.”
Dallas Keuchel needs a strong finish to earn a spot in a possible playoff rotation for the White Sox – and he knows it. The veteran left-hander is 2-5 with a 6.79 ERA in his last 10 starts.
”I have been the weakest starter in the rotation for much of the year,” Keuchel said a day after he was tagged for six runs in the first inning against the Cubs.
Cubs: INF David Bote was placed on the 10-day injured list after he sprained his right ankle when he stepped on a ball during batting practice. Bote got hurt before Friday’s loss to the White Sox. INF Alfonso Rivas and RHP Scott Effross were promoted from Triple-A Iowa, and RHPs Ryan Meisinger and Jake Jewell were designated for assignment. … C Willson Contreras (sprained right knee) threw, hit, ran the bases and caught a bullpen session. Ross said he’ll probably head out early next week for a rehab assignment. … RHP Adbert Alzolay (left hamstring strain) threw a bullpen session.
Right-handers Kyle Hendricks (14-5, 4.09 ERA) and Dylan Cease (10-6, 3.92 ERA) pitch in the series finale Sunday. Hendricks is coming off a no-decision against Colorado, working seven innings of four-run ball in the Cubs’ 6-4 victory. Cease is 3-0 with a 3.09 ERA over his last six starts for the White Sox, striking out 45 in 35 innings.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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