CHICAGO – There’s a reason the Cubs are in the midst of playing three straight Sunday night games.
First, the national broadcast gives fans – near and far – a chance to see a team that looks to have a better-than-average shot at making the postseason for the fifth straight year.
Second, it’s a prime-time opportunity to watch Javy Baez.
“I think he’s No. 1 if you want to turn on the TV and watch somebody play,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s the guy you want to watch. Any fan, I believe, would choose him first. Defensively, his base running, everything he does is so exciting.”
Once again, Baez did not disappoint as the first-place Cubs beat the Brewers, 4-1, at rainy, raw Wrigley Field.
In the fifth inning, Baez’s opposite-field RBI double off Milwaukee starter Jhoulys Chacin put the Cubs in front, 2-1.
With the Brewers threatening to tie the game in the sixth, the standout shortstop charged a slow roller off the bat of Hernan Perez and threw out slow-footed Jesus Aguilar at the plate.
“[Baez] changes the game on both sides of the ball,” starting pitcher Jon Lester said.
Now batting .323 after going 2 for 3, Baez was not the only must-see attraction as the Cubs took 2 of 3 from Milwaukee.
Kris Bryant went 3 for 4 and gave the Cubs some breathing room with a two-run homer in the eighth inning. Playing first base for the first time this season, Bryant has reached base in
22 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors.
“I think that’s my whole game right there,” Bryant said, “Obviously hitting and driving the ball, but getting on base and passing the torch to the next guy.”
Lester has pitched many a big game under the bright lights, and the 35-year-old lefty gave the Cubs exactly what they needed after Maddon had to use seven relievers Saturday.
Pitching six innings, Lester scattered nine hits and allowed one unearned run.
“Every time my day comes, I want to finish the game,” Lester said. “Obviously, that’s not always the case but I was able to get us into the seventh.”
The Cubs have won 12 of 14 and are 21-6 since April 11, the best record in baseball over that stretch.