CHICAGO — If the Chicago Cubs were looking for a glimmer of hope in an otherwise forgettable road trip Womens Tom Pyatt Jersey , a seven-run seventh inning provided a spark.
A day before the Cubs open a nine-game homestand on Friday against the Minnesota Twins, Thursday’s seven-spot helped deliver an 11-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers that helped the Cubs earn a split of the four-game series.
The Cubs lost six of the eight games on that road trip, but that victory in Thursday’s series finale may have been just what the Cubs needed. Despite their recent struggles, the Cubs won’t get too wrapped up in their recent skid.
“We’re in June,” center fielder Albert Almora Jr., told reporters. “Obviously, we want to get on a roll and start playing good baseball and this is a good way to move into our home (stand) now.
“We’re not where we want to be obviously, but this is a step in the right direction.”
Thursday’s outcome was better than the news that came earlier in the day.
Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish experienced pain in his right triceps during a bullpen session Thursday, which will prevent him from returning to the starting rotation this weekend.
“It didn’t go that well and he wasn’t able to cut it loose,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters, according to the Cubs’ official website. “We’ll re-evaluate once we go back to Chicago and let you know the next step. For right now, he’s not going to be able to pitch on Saturday.”
Darvish’s injury has opened the door of opportunity for Mike Montgomery, who will open the series against the Twins. Montgomery (2-2, 3.39 ERA) transitioned into the rotation from the bullpen in late May and has been effective. But after allowing no more than one earned run in each of his first five starts, Montgomery struggled in his last outing when he allowed four runs over six innings against the Cincinnati Reds.
Montgomery is 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two career appearances, including one start, against the Twins. The lone start came in 2015, when he allowed one run and four hits over six innings, but did not get a decision.
The Twins enter this weekend’s series off a marathon 13-inning, 2-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday. Minnesota avoided a sweep while playing the third of six games they will play in Chicago this week.
After Fernando Rodney allowed the tying run to score in the ninth inning, the Twins pulled out the victory with a bases-loaded walk to Max Kepler. The Twins will face the Cubs having lost five of their past seven games.
Like the Cubs, the Twins hope a win can build momentum after Minnesota’s recent slide erased any positive energy that came earlier this month in series wins over the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox.
“Obviously Zack Smith Jersey , this series and the last series have been unfortunate coming off two huge series wins,” second baseman Brian Dozier told reporters Thursday. “But that’s kind of how we’ve played the first few months of the season, which is not good. But I keep saying this team has potential to catch fire and do good things. I know we keep waiting on that and waiting on that, and in a perfect world, it would start today. But I think the mindset is where it needs to be. We just have to start winning more games.”
Jose Berrios will start for the Twins. Berrios (8-5, 3.15) has not lost since May 27 and is coming off a strong seven-inning effort against the Texas Rangers in which he allowed no runs and two hits and struck out 12.
Berrios will face the Cubs for the first time in his career on Friday.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay’s continued experimentation with relievers as starters has had mixed results, but it helped the Rays beat the best team in baseball on Friday night, and they’ll hope for the same formula as the series continues Saturday at Tropicana Field.
“It’s a little backwards, a little different, but it is what it is,” Yankees‘ Brett Gardner said after Friday’s 2-1 win for the Rays.
On Saturday, the Rays will start reliever Wilmer Font (0-3, 7.56 ERA), who is already with his third team in 2018, but has found surprising success growing into the unusual role. In six June appearances, he has managed to last longer in each outing — 2/3 of an inning, then 1 1/3, then 2, then 2 1/3, then 3 1/3, and then 4 2/3 on Sunday against the same Yankees.
Font lasted one out shorter than the minimum needed for a win but held the Yankees to one run and four hits Brandon Manning Jersey , striking out five. The same pitcher who had an 11.68 ERA in April and a 10.80 ERA in May now has a 2.51 ERA in June.
The Rays might not have a majority of fans in their own stadium, but they’re finding ways to win.
“They were pretty loud,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said of the Yankees fans on Friday night. “We’ve played the Yankees and Red Sox quite a bit, and they have a lot of fans who travel with them. I thought the loudest moment was when we got the final out, and that’s what we were concerned about. Our fans showed up and supported us.”
If the Rays want to win again Saturday, they’ll have to do so against another pitcher who has gotten steadily better as the season has progressed. Sonny Gray (5-4, 4.8) hasn’t faced the Rays yet this season, but he’s 3-4 in his career against Tampa Bay with a 4.26 ERA, including a 4.32 in four starts last year.
Gray had a 6.67 ERA in April, then a 5.16 ERA in May. For June, his ERA stands at 2.63. Gray has allowed only seven earned runs in 24 innings.
The Rays put together 10 hits on Friday, but got nothing from one of their best hitters.
Kevin Kiermaier went 0-for-4 to drop to 0-for-13 since his return from the disabled list. The Rays did get three hits from catcher Wilson Ramos, who has stepped into the American League lead in All-Star voting among catchers.
Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, next in the All-Star voting, went 0-for-4 to drop his season average to .194. Ramos may get traded before this year’s deadline, but he’s making the most of his time with the Rays.
No one will confuse the Yankees (50-23) with the Rays (35-40), but another bullpen day Saturday could flummox a New York batting order that managed only five hits Friday. And when they did get hits, the Yankees couldn’t capitalize and went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
After the Rays dropped their first six games against the Yankees this season, they have won two straight as they try to again claw back to playing .500 baseball.