Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (6/19/24): Cubs 6, Giants 5 – Cubs Survive Soler Slam to Win Series

The Cubs were able to build a big lead in the late innings against the Giants Wednesday afternoon for what looked like an easy win. Of course, nothing comes easy for Chicago in 2024 and the bullpen came dangerously close to blowing the 6-1 advantage. Fortunately, San Francisco fell just a single run short and the home team earned a rare series win.

Kyle Hendricks returned to the rotation Wednesday and was in vintage form, allowing just a single tally while pitching into the 6th inning. Ian Happ and Dansby Swanson hit back-to-back homers off of Spencer Bivens in the bottom of the 4th, the first time all season the Cubs have done that. Another run scored later in the frame when a Pete Crow-Armstrong sacrifice bunt attempt was thrown away by reliever Sean Hjelle for an error.

An RBI groundout by Heliot Ramos cut the Cubs lead to 3-1 in the 6th. Swanson had a critical two-run single and the Giants botched a rundown on a double steal attempt, allowing Christopher Morel to come home and make it 6-1 in the 7th.

It turned out that the North Siders needed every bit of that insurance when San Francisco rallied in the top of the 8th. Mark Leiter Jr. gave up a single and walked a pair of batters to load the bases for Jorge Soler with two outs. Tyson Miller took over at that point and the former Cubs hit an absolute missile of a grand slam way out to left field that cut the deficit to 6-5.

The Cubs continued their new closer-by-committee approach with Colten Brewer getting the nod in the 9th. The young reliever walked the tying and go-ahead runs but then got two consecutive groundouts to escape with his first career save and a 6-5 Chicago victory. (Box score)

Key Moment 

With runners on the corners and two outs in the 7th, Swanson broke for second trying to force a throw with the hope of Morel stealing a run at the plate. Catcher Patrick Bailey fired to second but Morel did not get a good jump off of third and Swanson was dead to rights. The Cubs caught a huge break when first baseman Wilmer Flores dropped the throw from second when he was about to apply the tag and everyone was safe. That unearned run turned out to be the margin of victory for Craig Counsell‘s team.

Why the Cubs Won

They got a good starting pitching effort and enough offense to survive another near bullpen implosion.

Stats That Matter

  • Hendricks continues to pitch much better in June and the Cubs could really use more of it: 5.2 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 8 K, and 1 BB.
  • Swanson is starting to hit the ball the other way consistently, which should be a good thing going forward.
  • After showing no power early in the season, Happ has been driving the ball with authority lately and his home run went 442 feet to dead center on Wednesday.
  • Michael Busch reached base three more times and has been very good the last few weeks.

Bottom Line

First, the good news: The offense is really starting to come back to life with 17 runs against the Giants. This was also the Cubs’ first series win over a non-White Sox opponent in over a month. The bad news is the bullpen is still a complete disaster and every lead feels like it is vulnerable right now. If they could ever find some kind of stability with the relief corps, a hot streak is possible.

On Deck

After a day off on Thursday, the Cubs begin a series with the red-hot Mets at Wrigley starting Friday at 1:20pm CT. Shōta Imanaga takes the mound for Chicago and New York has not named a starter for the game available on MLB Network (out of market only), Marquee, and 670 The Score.

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