* Iowa’s game vs. Oklahoma City was postponed because of rain, and will be made up April 20 as part of a doubleheader. On Sunday, Barret Loux was scheduled to start for the I-Cubs.
* Albert Almora went 5-for-5 and Wilson Contreras hit a three-run homer in the sixth to lead Tennessee to a 7-1 win over Pensacola. Felix Pena gave up one run on four hits over six innings for his second quality start.
* Duane Underwood gave up one run on two hits over six innings in Myrtle Beach’s 4-1 win over Winston Salem in the first game of a doubleheader. Shawon Dunston Jr. had two hits, including his second triple, and stole a base. In the second game, Paul Blackburn gave up three earned runs over five innings for the win and Ben Carhart hit his first homer in an 8-4 victory. Jeimer Candelario had two hits, both doubles.
* Trey Martin had two hits in South Bend’s 5-4 loss to Great Lakes.
Jon Lester aims at his first win with the Cubs, and a chance for the team to win another series on Sunday at Wrigley Field in the finale vs. the Padres. Andrew Cashner gets the start for San Diego. Here’s the Cubs lineup:
— Carrie Muskat
* The Cubs are one of three teams that has not dropped at least two straight games this season (also Red Sox and Tigers).
* Cubs batters are averaging 3.95 pitches per plate appearance thus far, most in the NL and fourth-highest in MLB behind the Red Sox (4.18), Rays (4.13) and Yankees (4.04).
* The Cubs have swiped 12 stolen bases, tied with the Reds for the most in the NL and tied for second-most in MLB.
* The Cubs have won at six of their first 10 games for the first time since starting out 6-4 (and 7-4) in 2009.
Notes from Saturday’s 7-6, 11-inning win:
* Miguel Montero hit his first two homers as a Cub, with the first opening a 3-2 lead in the sixth. It was his fifth-career multi-homer game and first since Aug. 14, 2010, at Washington with the D-Backs. Montero joins Jorge Soler (April 13 vs. Cincinnati) as the only two Cubs to blast multiple homers in game this season.
* Kyle Hendricks did not get a decision but did notch a quality start. He gave up two runs on three hits, striking out a career-high eight hitters over six innings. The Cubs are now 8-1 when Hendricks tosses six innings or more. Hendricks served up Matt Kemp’s homer in the first, then retired 14 in a row.
* Kris Bryant recorded his first-career hit and RBI with a run-scoring single in the fifth. He’s the first Cub since at least 1914 to draw three walks in a game within his first two career games.
* Starlin Castro recorded his fourth-career walk-off with a RBI single in the 11th. He has hit safely in six of seven games (.321/9-for-28) at Wrigley this season. His three hits Saturday were a season high.
The Cubs open a four-game series against the Pirates on Monday. Here are the pitching matchups:
Monday: RHP Jake Arrieta (1-1, 1.98) vs. RHP A.J. Burnett (0-1, 2.25)
Tuesday: LHP Travis Wood (1-1, 2.31) vs. LHP Francisco Liriano (0-1, 2.08)
Wednesday: RHP Jason Hammel (1-0, 5.11) vs. RHP Vance Worley (1-1, 5.84)
Thursday: RHP Kyle Hendricks (0-0, 6.10) vs. LHP Jeff Locke (2-0, 1.93)
— Carrie Muskat
This spring, Kyle Hendricks used to joke that Kris Bryant only homered in his starts. Bryant connected in other games as well, but that could make Saturday’s game at Wrigley Field interesting. Will Bryant come through for Hendricks? First pitch is 1:20 p.m. CT. Here’s the lineup vs. the Padres:
* Kyle Hendricks makes his second start of the season on Saturday, and first at Wrigley Field of 2015. Last year, the right-hander was 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA (9 ER/40 2/3 IP) in seven home starts. The 1.99 ERA was the lowest single-season mark for any Cubs rookie who made at least seven starts at Wrigley Field.
* The Cubs bullpen has posted a 1.57 ERA (5 ER/28 2/3 IP) thus far, having walked eight with 26 strikeouts. The bullpen has limited opponents to a .183 batting average (19-for-104) and have combined three times to throw at least four shutout innings in a game.
* Mike Olt, placed on the DL Friday with a hairline fracture in his right wrist, says he’ll be wearing a cast for three to four weeks.
* Looking ahead: Jon Lester faces former Cubs pitcher Andrew Cashner on Sunday in the series finale at Wrigley Field. Lester is looking for his first win with the Cubs.
Tsuyoshi Wada gave up one run on four hits over 4 2/3 innings, striking out six, in Iowa’s 3-2 loss to Oklahoma City. The I-Cubs totaled five hits. It was Wada’s first start since going on the DL with a groin strain. The lefty wore No. 17, which had been Kris Bryant’s jersey number at Iowa. The game, which was Iowa’s home opener, drew 12,669 in Des Moines. Chris Valaika drove in both of Iowa’s runs.
Bijan Rademacher drove in the game-winning run in Tennnessee’s 1-0 win over Pensacola in the first game of a doubleheader. Ivan Pineyro gave up two hits over six scoreless innings. Dan Vogelbach had two hits. In the second game, Tennessee lost, 4-1. Dan Vogelbach was 3-for-3.
Jeimer Candelario had three hits to back Daury Torrez and lead Myrtle Beach to a 3-2 win over Winston Salem. Torrez gave up one run on four hits and three walks over five innings. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday.
Erick Leal gave up one run on six hits over five innings in South Bend’s 11-3 win over Fort Wayne. Four players had multi-hit games, including Jeffrey Baez and Cael Brockmeyer, who each had three hits.
Kris Bryant hit his third home run and Addison Russell had three hits and three RBIs to help Iowa beat New Orleans, 10-7.
The second game of a doubleheader was rained out. Eric Jokisch started, and gave up four runs on nine hits over 3 2/3
innings. Junior Lake, Rubi Silva and Jonathan MOta each had two hits.
Corey Black gave up two runs on three hits over four innings in Tennessee’s 5-4 win over Pensacola. Wilson Contreras and
Dan Vogelbach each had two hits.
Myrtle Beach’s season opener Thursday was postponed because of rain.
Jesse Hodges hit his first home run, a two-run shot, in South Bend’s 7-6 loss to Fort Wayne. Cael Brockmeyer posted his
third multi-hit game of the season, and Jeremy Null gave up two runs on seven hits over six innings.
Triple-A Iowa played its home opener Friday night and the hot topic was the one player who wasn’t there, Kris Bryant, who made his big league debut at Wrigley Field for the Cubs.
Iowa infielder Chris Valaika talked to Bryant before he left for Chicago, and had no doubts the 23-year-old third baseman will succeed.
“When we spoke, it was about just handling the moment, calm it down and let it happen,” Valaika said Friday. “He’s a great ballplayer, he won’t have to do anything different when he gets there, just trust your instincts, and he will do what he did at every level once he gets there.”
Valaika does see challenges ahead for Bryant but believes he can handle them.
“Everything’s escalated, the media presence doesn’t go away, and the game is crisper — it’s the big leagues for a reason,” Valaika said. “Those guys are the best of the best. They find a weakness and they exploit it until you close that hole. He will make adjustments, they will find a new one, and he will close it again. He’s a professional, I’m really happy for him.”
Bryant discovered just how nasty James Shields’ changeup is, striking out three times in his four at-bats, and grounding out in his final appearance in the Cubs’ 5-4 loss to the Padres.
Iowa manager Marty Pevey, who told Bryant he was being promoted on Thursday night in New Orleans, said the biggest challenge for the talented infielder will be living up to expectations.
“The hype, that’s the biggest obstacle, and he’s handled it great,” Pevey said. “He’s jumped five levels in a year and a half, they’ve piled it all up on him and it has continued to stay piled, but he’s so level headed that he can still handle it.”
Who’s next? It could be shortstop Addison Russell, who was the top rated prospect in the Athletics organization before he was traded to the Cubs last July. Russell believes the pressure to succeed in Chicago is even greater than in Oakland.
“I’ve been the No. 1 prospect in Oakland before and its nothing like it is compared to here because the fans, there’s a lot more fans and it’s just a great organization as well,” Russell said.
The I-Cubs felt Bryant was ready.
“He will do just fine,” Pevey said. “I have no doubt.”
— reported by James Hilchen in Des Moines
Every Friday home game, Cubs manager Joe Maddon will wear a different t-shirt to show support for an organization. On Friday, he was wearing a shirt for the Rehab Institute of Chicago.
“It’s all about having the opportunity to participate in sports,” Maddon said.
The RIC serves kids ages 7-16 who are living with physical disabilities. The center helps them play softball, basketball and participate in track. Maddon visited the center in January, and was impressed by their facilities and staff.
* The t-shirt is part of Maddon’s “Respect Community” initiative. After every Friday home game, he will represent a different Chicago nonprofit and wear that organization’s t-shirt during his post-game news conference.
— Carrie Muskat
* Dexter Fowler had three hits, and is batting .385 in his last six games. He also hit a ground rule double that bounced into the ivy in left field. The Cubs argued that because you could see the ball, it was in play.
“I said, ‘At least give me a triple,'” Fowler said.
* Joe Maddon was ejected for the first time this season when he questioned balls and strikes in the seventh inning. After the game, Maddon said he didn’t blame the umpires.
* Jorge Soler has hit safely in four straight games and seven of the last eight. He leads the Cubs with eight RBIs.
* Jonathan Herrera and James Shields played a cat and mouse game in the third, with Herrera eventually scoring on a wild pitch. The Padres had shifted their infield to the right during Anthony Rizzo’s at-bat.
“Any time we’re given that opportunity, I want us to do that,” Maddon said.
— Carrie Muskat
Wil Myers hit a three-run go-ahead homer in the seventh to lead the Padres to a 5-4 victory over the Cubs and spoil Kris Bryant’s Major League debut. Will Middlebrooks also homered for the Padres and James Shields, who picked up the win, striking out nine over six innings.
Bryant went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, but played solid third base in front of 32,138 at Wrigley Field.
“We did bring him up for his glove, didn’t we?” manager Joe Maddon said of the 2014 Minor League player of the year who belted 43 homers last year.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life and I’m out there trying to do too much in those four at-bats,” Bryant said of his big league debut. “It was a good day for me — my first game and the guys were treating me great. I couldn’t ask for a better day, honestly.”
If it helps Cubs fans to relax, remember Bryant went 0-for-5 in his pro debut at short-season Boise in 2013. He seems to have rebounded well after that.
“Of course, your first game, you want to go out there and do everything, and hit four home runs in one at-bat and you want to show you’re here to help the team win,” Bryant said. “I didn’t get any results today but no reason to hang my head. I’ve had plenty of other debuts in my short career, and some good, some bad. That’s the name of the game really.”
Said Maddon: “Believe me, he’s going to be fine, he’ll be very productive here. That’s just one game.”
* Up next: Kyle Hendricks faces Tyson Ross on Saturday in the second game of the three-game series at Wrigley Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT.