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Rookie Jordan Wicks leads Cubs to win, sweep of Giants in Wrigley Field debut

9 months agoAndy Martinez

Jordan Wicks’ stellar start to his big-league career continued Wednesday afternoon — this time in front of the home crowd.

In his third major-league start, and first at Wrigley Field, the lefty allowed 2 runs on 9 hits and no walks in 6.2 innings of work as the Cubs beat the Giants 8-2 to sweep San Francisco in the three-game set. It was Wicks’ longest outing — at any level — this season. The win moves the Cubs a season-high 12 games over .500 and coupled with Milwaukee’s loss, moves them to 1.5 games back in the NL Central. 

“It was a different animal for sure. I thought it was an awesome crowd. Just the energy in this place. It’s crazy cause even if there’s a few less people that might actually be in the stadium, it doesn’t sound like it ever,” Wicks said. “Just to be able to be in this place. It was especially nice to have fans cheering for you, for once, instead of against you. That was definitely nice.”

Since making his major league debut on August 26, Wicks has seamlessly fit into the Cubs’ rotation, posting a 2.16 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 16.2 innings of work. The lefty kept the Giants bats off rhythm all game, induing weak contact after weak contact.

“I thought he was really efficient,” manager David Ross said. “The groundballs with the double plays, our defense behind him played well, but pounding the strike zone.”

And when Wicks would run into trouble, he quickly escaped it. The Giants were 2-for-15 with runners on base with a sacrifice fly against Wicks. He cruised through most of the afternoon, only running into real trouble in the 7th inning, when he allowed back-to-back-to-back one out hits to plate a run. He was done a batter later after he allowed a sacrifice fly.

“I think a lot of it is just pitching to a lot of situations. I like to simplify and downplay situations,” Wicks said. “Like if we have a guy on second one out, I just think about all the times I’ve been in that situation and all the ways you can get out of it. I don’t like to really like hype things up more than it is.

“I just keep it simple and know if I’m executing my pitches, we’ll able to get out of it, especially with the guys we have behind me.”

The Cubs offense backed him up early. The Cubs plated 3 runs in the opening frame on a 3-run double from Seiya Suzuki with two outs. Two innings later, Cody Bellinger delivered an RBI-double and Nick Madrigal drove him home with a single to break open the game.

The Cubs had 9 different players reach base and two players (Bellinger and Miguel Amaya) with home runs.

“The thing that has stood out to me most since [Wicks] has gotten here is I think good pitchers pound the strike zone with their stuff when you get a lead,” Ross said. “He knows how to pitch with a lead and he’s gonna be on the attack. He’s not worried about a baserunner, he’s still gonna try to pitch his game and getting the ground balls and being efficient, that’s how you get deep in the game.”

Ross was able to preserve some of his high-leverage arms in the win, using Daniel Palencia (1.1 innings, 2 strikeouts) and major league debutant Luke Little (1 inning, 2 strikeouts) to pick up the final 7 outs.

Rookie Alexander Canario also made his big-league debut, pinch hitting for Christopher Morel in the 8th. He struck out against Giants’ reliever Camilo Doval on a full count.

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