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Cubs, Red Sox have sights set on series win in rubber match


The Chicago Cubs host the Boston Red Sox on Sunday in the rubber match of both teams’ first series since the All-Star break

Following an 8-3 loss on Friday in which five different Boston batters homered, Chicago evened the series on Saturday with a 10-4 romp.

Cody Bellinger hit a third-inning grand slam that gave the Cubs a 6-0 lead. The gap never dipped below five runs the rest of the way

“He’s been more than expected since he’s been here,” Chicago manager David Ross said of Bellinger. “He’s the total package, right? The defense, the clubhouse presence, the at-bat. And the power is showing up.”

Bellinger homered twice in Friday’s loss and is hitting .476 (20-for-42) in the month of July.

Every Chicago batter connected for at least one hit in Saturday’s win. Five drove in runs, led by Bellinger, who had the four RBIs thanks to his eighth career grand slam. Patrick Wisdom drove in two with a fourth-inning home run, and Nico Hoerner, Christopher Morel and Miguel Amaya each had one RBI.

Cubs All-Star left-hander Justin Steele (9-2, 2.56 ERA) looks to pitch Chicago to the series win on Sunday. Steele has won in each of his last three starts in which he earned a decision, though his most recent outing — a six-inning appearance on July 5 at National League Central rival Milwaukee — was a no-decision

Steele gave up three earned runs and nine hits in that contest, a 4-3 Cubs win. Both were the most Steele has allowed since giving up 10 hits and five earned runs on May 26 against Cincinnati

The appearance against Cincinnati was Steele’s most recent loss. Sunday marks Steele’s first time facing the Red Sox

Right-hander Kutter Crawford (3-4, 4.11) will take the mound for Boston for his first career appearance against the Cubs

Crawford last pitched on July 6, giving up three runs and seven hits over four innings in a no-decision against Texas.

The right-hander has struck out 58 over 61 1/3 innings on the season and recorded two of his three wins in 2023 over his last four starts prior to the All-Star break.

Boston aims to bounce back from its first loss since July 4. The Red Sox had won six straight games prior to Saturday’s setback

“People make a big deal out of one game,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We’ll show up (Sunday) and play good baseball. We just didn’t make one play (Saturday), and that was it. We walked two, we hit one guy, we don’t make a play, they score six (runs).

By scoring six runs in the third inning on Saturday, the Cubs matched the most runs scored by an opponent in a single game during Boston’s recent winning streak. The 10 total runs Chicago scored were just two fewer than Boston surrendered in its four previous games combined

Though the Red Sox are five games above .500, Saturday’s loss dropped Boston to last place in the American League East

–Field Level Media


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