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Ross resists changes and Cubs explode late to beat Nationals

As a team, the Cubs are getting close to the point where they’ll need to admit, “This isn’t working.”

In the meantime, though, manager David Ross is trying to show some faith. He penciled in the exact same lineup Tuesday against Washington that he used in Monday’s loss.

Technically, it was only the same in its original form: Christopher Morel ended up being a late scratch due to neck stiffness, so Miles Mastrobuoni took over at second base.

But some of the Cubs’ struggling hitters finally came to life. Seiya Suzuki and Patrick Wisdom hit home runs and the Cubs scored 14 runs in the seventh and eighth innings to beat the Nationals 17-3 at Wrigley Field. The game was tied 3-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh.

“I’ve never seen anything like that before, 14 runs in the last two innings,” starting pitcher Jameson Taillon said. “That was crazy. “That’s also the definition of offense can be contagious.”

For Wisdom, it was his third home run in four days, No. 17 on the season. For Suzuki, it was just his second home run since May 23 and his eighth of the year. He hit one at Yankee Stadium before the break.



Before the game, Ross talked about whether it’s better to shake things up or keep believing in his guys when things aren’t going well.

“One thing I do know as a former player, my experience is that you want to feel confidence from your manager,” Ross said. “I think it’s easy from the outside to look at what guys are struggling with in certain moments, whether it’s 10 days to two weeks. A season’s a full season for a reason. You’re going to have good months, you’re going to have bad months.”

Besides Cody Bellinger, just about everyone has been struggling at the plate for the Cubs. But after Wisdom’s home run put them ahead 4-3, Mastrobuoni, Nico Hoerner, Suzuki and Ian Happ collected 4 straight hits. Miguel Amaya later added a 2-run single to complete a 6-run seventh.

“I think in reality right now, if I could give Nico a day, I would,” Ross said. “Can’t, Dansby Swanson (left heel bruise) is not in there. He’s on the injured list and part of being a major-leaguer is grinding through.

“When you’re not going well and you need confidence, you need positive people around you, you need the belief of your manager, you need the belief in your coaches, you need belief of your organization and the fan base as well.”



When it comes to the fans, there were definitely some groans early in the game when Taillon gave up 3 early runs and the hitters couldn’t do much against Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin.

Hoerner came back from the break with a 3-for-20 slump, while striking out multiple times in three straight games for the first time in his major league career. Then he collected 3 straight hits in the seventh and eighth innings.

Suzuki finished the game 4-for-6 with 3 RBI. Mastrobuoni collected 3 hits to raise his average to .184. Amaya and Mike Tauchman each had 3 RBI.

“Seiya looked phenomenal tonight,” Ross said. “I thought he was really calm and disciplined. It looks like Wiz is getting hot again. (Suzuki) is important. I think we still haven’t seen the best version of him, as far as for long stretches. He’s got one of the best swings, I think, in the league.”

Taillon was coming off his best outing of the season against the Yankees, his former team. He tossed a 1-hit shutout over 8 innings in New York, but that was on July 7. Ross decided to give Taillon a long break, with 10 days off in between starts.

“I thought we did a pretty good job in between the starts of having a plan,” Taillon said. “I threw a sim game Friday to Wisdom and Mastrobuoni. I might have locked them in. they’ve been hot ever since. We threw some competitive bullpens and that sim game, which I thought was a really good idea. So I felt pretty good, honestly.”

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports



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