Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (7/10/24): Cubs 4, Orioles 0 – Imanaga Stars in Third Straight Win

The Cubs entered their matchup against the high-flying Orioles having won just three of their previous 17 series over the last several weeks. So naturally, they were able to shut Baltimore out on Wednesday night for a third consecutive victory and a second consecutive series triumph.

A pair of All-Stars were on the mound in this one, with Corbin Burnes squaring off against Shōta Imanaga. The Cubs took the lead in the top of the 2nd when Christopher Morel cracked a solo home run just over the center field wall, then Nico Hoerner followed with an RBI single later in the frame that made it 2-0.

The Orioles had a couple of scoring opportunities, but Imanaga made big pitch after big pitch to escape any damage. Michael Busch hit a ground ball that bounced off second base into left field, allowing him to stretch it into a hustle double in the 5th. Seiya Suzuki then grounded a run-scoring single past third to put the North Siders ahead 3-0.

Imanaga put up six scoreless innings before turning it over to the bullpen, which was able to pitch around some traffic on the bases to keep the O’s off the board. There was a rain delay in the bottom of the 7th as a thunderstorm passed through and postponed the inevitable for 20 minutes. The Cubs added one more insurance tally when Hoerner legged out another hustle double and came home on a bloop single from Busch in the 9th.

Héctor Neris allowed a single in the bottom of the frame before a double play erased that runner and secured the 4-0 Chicago win. (Box score)

Key Moment

Baltimore had Adley Rutschman at the plate representing the tying run against Cubs reliever Luke Little with two on and one out in the bottom of the 7th. The rain delay hit with an 0-2 count and when play resumed, Rutschman took a called third strike at the knees. Porter Hodge took over for Little and got Ryan Mountcastle to fly out to escape the jam.

Why the Cubs Won

The starting pitching continues to do a great job and the hitters are finally adding on some insurance runs late in games. The bullpen is also starting to stabilize a bit.

Stats That Matter

  • After a few rough starts, Imanaga is rounding back into form and was very good against a tough Orioles lineup: 6 IP, 0 R, 6 H, 6 K, and 1 BB.
  • Dansby Swanson had a single and a double and was putting good swings on the ball for the first time in a while.
  • Hodge also pitched the 8th inning and has been very good since coming up from Iowa.
  • Cody Bellinger exited after being hit in the left hand and hurting his ring finger in the 7th inning; he’ll undergo testing to determine the severity of the issue.

Bottom Line

After months of sloppy play and getting a lot of little things wrong, the Cubs are suddenly doing the opposite. They’re taking extra bases, executing on routine plays, and throwing strikes, which has naturally led to better outcomes. It’s impossible to know whether the North Siders can sustain this for long enough to dig out of the hole they’ve put themselves in. Still, it’s nice to see this even if it is just a temporary flash of competence.

On Deck

Chicago attempts to go for the sweep Thursday at 5:35pm CT. Justin Steele gets the start against Albert Suárez with coverage available on MLB Network (out of market only), Marquee, and 670 The Score.

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