Cubs set club HR record by trouncing Pirates
CHICAGO — All of a sudden, the Chicago Cubs are locked in at the plate and looking like a confident, playoff-bound team again.
Kris Bryant and rookie Nico Hoerner each homered among three hits, and the Cubs went deep four times to set a club record with 237 home runs as they pounded the Pittsburgh Pirates, 14-1, on Saturday.
Bryant hit a two-run shot in the fourth and had four RBIs. Hoerner’s second homer in two days, a three-run drive in the sixth, broke the Cubs’ old mark of 235, established in 2004.
“It’s pretty cool to set records,” Bryant said. “We love it. Home runs are fun and it’s exciting.”
Ben Zobrist and Victor Caratini added solo shots as the Cubs used a second straight big day at the plate to strengthen their bid for a fifth straight postseason berth. Chicago has outscored the Pirates, 31-9, in the first two games of the series and won three straight overall.
James Marvel (0-2) allowed seven runs on nine hits in four innings in his second major league start. Kevin Newman had a single, double and triple.
Marvel was impressed by the Cubs.
“They’re veteran guys who put together good at-bats, and I wasn’t very sharp today, didn’t really do my job,” Marvel said. “I just need to find a way to get better from this.”
Both benches cleared briefly in the sixth after pinch-hitter David Bote ducked into a high pitch from reliever Clay Holmes and was hit on the shoulder. Bote, the fourth Cubs batter plunked, shouted at Holmes before going to first, and the teams returned to their dugouts without an altercation.
Cubs reliever Dillon Maples hit Elias Díaz and Erik González with pitches in the ninth before Derek Holland finished.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Holmes has been struggling with his command and conceded Maples wasn’t sharp.
“(Holmes) didn’t try to hit our guys,” Maddon said. “We didn’t try to hit their guys. Today, there was no reason to escalate any of that.”
Chicago entered in the second NL wild card spot, one game ahead of Milwaukee and four games behind NL Central-leading St. Louis.
“It’s nice to kind of get those non-stressful wins,” Bryant said. “Our offense is doing great, scoring runs. Let’s keep this up and right now I think we should feel pretty good about what we’ve been able to do.”
Maddon doesn’t expect double-digit production, but he’s been impressed by his hitters’ approaches.
“We hit the ball extremely well again and when it counted,” Maddon said. “We’ve been pretty good at not swinging at bad pitches the last two days. We’ve not been chasing so much. When you see your pitch, you’re not missing it.”
Notes: Pirates 1B Josh Bell is day-to-day (groin strain) after leaving Friday’s game. … CF Starling Marte (left wrist sprain) was out of the lineup for a sixth straight game and was limited to pinch running. … RHP Trevor Williams (7-6, 5.21 ERA) faces Cubs LHP José Quintana (13-8, 4.15) on Sunday.