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Saturday, August 23, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Cubs 7, Orioles 2

By Doug Padilla


CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs moved one game away from a series sweep with a 7-2 victory Saturday over the Baltimore Orioles.

How it happened: Chris Coghlan had three RBIs, Arismendy Alcantara had three hits and Javier Baez hit his seventh home run. Kyle Hendricks pitched two innings but was removed after a 3-hour, 9-minute rain delay, giving way to Justin Grimm, who pitched 3 ⅓ scoreless innings. The Orioles have lost two consecutive games at Wrigley Field after sweeping the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

What it means: Maybe the Cubs would rather skip that long-awaited rest that arrives Monday. After Sunday's series finale, the Cubs will end a string of 33 games in 34 days. Monday's off day will be the Cubs' first since Aug. 4. Their young roster, though, seems to have the energy that most teams are lacking at this time of the year. The Cubs have now won five of their last seven games and 15 of their last 26.

Outside the box: Baez's all-or-nothing tendencies were in full display Saturday. He struck out in each of his first three at-bats, then went deep against Orioles reliever Tommy Hunter in the seventh. Baez now has seven home runs and 11 RBIs in his first 19 games and has hit a home run in both games of this series.

Offbeat: The grounds crew got it right this time. As a massive rain storm arrived at the end of the second inning, the Cubs' grounds crew got the tarp over the infield in barely over a minute. That wasn't the case Tuesday, when issues with the tarp led the game to be called, only to have it resumed two days later.

Up next: The Cubs will send left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada (3-1, 2.75 ERA) to the mound Sunday in the finale of the three-game series. The Orioles will counter with right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (6-6, 3.80) in the 1:20 p.m. CT start from Wrigley Field.