How it Happened: The Cubs got to Red Sox starter Brandon Workman right away, as the first four hitters all reached and three of them scored. Justin Ruggiano hit a long home run over the Green Monster for a two-run shot. Two batters later, Starlin Castro drove in Anthony Rizzo with a base hit to center. Rizzo and Castro both stole second base in the inning. Boston got one back in the third, when Jonny Gomes drove in Dustin Pedroia with a sacrifice fly. But the Cubs extended the lead with three more in the fourth; Mike Olt went deep with a man on and Darwin Barney tripled on the next pitch. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Chris Coghlan. Cubs’ starter Travis Wood was shaky, as he was unable to get out of the fourth inning, giving up a bases-loaded hit to Gomes. But reliever Carlos Villanueva got Xander Bogaerts looking with three men on. A Welington Castillo two-run shot in the fifth extended the lead again, but Mookie Betts hit his first career home run in the bottom of the inning to close the gap. After Olt’s second hit -- a double -- he came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Coghlan in the sixth to make it 9-5. Nate Schierholtz hit a solo shot in the eight and singled home a run in the ninth, as did Luis Valbuena with a double. Barney and Coghlan also had RBI base hits as part of a six-run ninth. Ruggiano opened and closed the scoring for the Cubs on the night, as he doubled home two more to make it 16-6. The Red Sox added three scores in the bottom of the ninth off of Justin Grimm. The Cubs scored runs in six of the innings.
What it means: The Cubs swept the defending World Series champions on their home field and did it with good pitching and timely hitting. They had contributions up and down the lineup this week, including playing long ball a season-high four times on Wednesday. Every hitter in the lineup had at least one hit in the game, as the Cubs totaled 19 on the night. The one concern was Wood, who missed his spots and paid for it. Luckily, he minimized the damage; but giving up seven hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings while playing with a lead isn’t a recipe he wants to keep. His ERA is 4.62, and it’s indicative of his performance this season.
Olt hit just his second home run since May 18, but he got all of it going out to left center. Before the game Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said he was “concerned” with Olt’s high strikeout total. Olt, starting for the first time since May 12, also grounded out, doubled and popped out, avoiding a strikeout.
Barney’s night: Barney had four hits and was a home run short of the cycle. He came up to the plate with two outs in the ninth with a chance to achieve the feat but got only a base hit to right to drive in a run.
Maybe Wada: Before the game, Hoyer indicated that Triple-A lefty hurler Tsuyoshi Wada, 33, is a candidate for a major league start on Tuesday when the Cubs play a doubleheader in Cincinnati. Wada is 9-4 with a 2.55 ERA in 16 games. The Cubs would have to adjust his next start in Iowa to avoid pitching him on three days' rest against the Reds.
“I think he’s a guy here that we’ll see at some point in the future,” Hoyer said.
Fujikawa status: Cubs reliever Kyuji Fujikawa still is progressing slowly in Arizona, according to Hoyer. There is no timetable for a return to game action as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery performed last summer.
Stat of the night: The Cubs scored runs in six innings Wednesday.
What’s next: The Cubs have the day off on Thursday before opening a three-game series at the Washington Nationals on Independence Day. Jason Hammel (7-5, 2.98) takes on Tanner Roark (7-5, 2.98) in a 10:05 a.m. CT start.