Willson Contreras More Than Grand In Cubs' Win

Contreras hit two homers, including a grand slam, and drove in five runs.

Chris Emma
June 19, 2019 - 11:35 pm
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras

Patrick Gorski/USA Today Sports

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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- Cubs catcher Willson Contreras has never been intimidated by any challenge since arriving to the big leagues three seasons ago. So he surely wouldn't back down to White Sox ace Lucas Giolito, the MLB wins leader.

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Contreras hit two home runs off Giolito, including a first-inning grand slam, and drove in five runs as the catalyst behind the Cubs' 7-3 win over the White Sox on at Wrigley Field on Wednesday night.

Contreras did all that on the three-year anniversary of when he homered in his first MLB at-bat. The grand slam was the first for Contreras since he hit one in the first inning of a win against the White Sox at Wrigley Field last season.

"It makes me proud to look back and see how far I've come and how good this team is to me," Contreras said.

The Cubs entered Wednesday having scored three runs or fewer in six of their last seven games. With one swing of the bat from Contreras, they surpassed that mark. 

For Cubs left-hander Jon Lester -- who surrendered a home run to White Sox lead-off man Leury Garcia on the first pitch of the game -- Contreras' blast allowed him the comfort to settle in.

"We needed that at that point to really gain some separation," manager Joe Maddon said of the Contreras slam.

Lester worked 5 2/3 innings while allowing seven hits and three earned runs. It wasn't his finest start of the season, but Lester benefited from the kind of run support that left-hander Cole Hamels didn't receive in the Cubs' 3-1 loss Tuesday night.

The Cubs are now 31-16 when scoring four runs or more in a game -- and 9-17 when recording fewer. The grand slam by Contreras was just what they needed in this one. It also meant the end to Giolito's remarkable run, one in which he was 8-0 with an 0.94 ERA over his last eight starts before Wednesday.

Giolito saw his ERA rise from 2.22 to 2.74 after the Cubs touched him for six earned runs over 4 1/3 innings of work.

Contreras was once again up for a challenge and led the Cubs to victory.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.