6/18 Quick hits
Von Joshua may be having a good effect already. The Cubs new hitting coach has been stressing to players to hit the ball to the opposite field. Alfonso Soriano did just that with his walkoff RBI single in the ninth Thursday and Derrek Lee’s three-run homer in the eighth also was to right. Lou Piniella said hitters are trying to stay with the ball a little longer, make better contact. Soriano didn’t blame former coach Gerald Perry for his problems at the plate.
“Whatever happened to me is not because of the hitting coach,” said Soriano, who was batting .141 in 23 games prior to Thursday. “Every player has a tough time in this game. I’ve been working with [Joshua] and I think he wants to help me a lot. I have confidence in him.”
* Reed Johnson got things started in the ninth with his pinch-hit leadoff single. He didn’t see Soriano’s hit. Johnson had his head down and was running hard.
“It was an awkward high five at home plate,” Johnson said. “I was going pretty fast and [Ryan] Theriot wouldn’t get out of my way. I didn’t even hear the crowd roar until I got like two or three steps around. I was just listening to see if the ball had fallen or not. I got my head down and I was running on the swing.”
The six runs by the Cubs in the 6-5 win over the White Sox were the most since they scored seven on June 9.
“If it was another 2-1 or 1-0 victory, it’d be different,” Johnson said. “We’d be thinking, well, our offense hasn’t showed up. We showed up today. It took us a while but we were able to get some runs off some really tough pitchers in [Scott] Linebrink and [Matt] Thornton. I think we did a pretty good job late in the game.”
It was the Cubs’ 13th come from behind win and ninth win in their last at-bat.
* Carlos Zambrano did not get a decision but did notch his eighth quality start. He gave up six hits, walked three and struck out three over seven innings.
“How can you fault a pitcher for giving you seven good innings of work?” Lou Piniella said.
The Cubs need to pick it up.
“It’s almost the middle of the season and we need to start turning our engine on and start playing better,” Zambrano said.
* Geovany Soto stole the first base of his career in the fourth. His only other attempt was Sept. 20, 2008, against St. Louis.
– Carrie Muskat