Cubs are in midst of a May power revival

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs have gone on a legitimate power binge over the first week of May, matching what they had provided in the power department the entire opening month.

With three home runs Monday in a 5-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves, the Cubs have hit nine home runs over the first seven days of May. That matches what they hit the entire month of April.

The only power threat from that first month, Bryan LaHair, has continued to deliver, but now he’s finally getting some help. Ian Stewart and Geovany Soto added home runs Monday.

“This is what I expected,” LaHair said of the emerging power. “We have a lot of good hitters on this team, a lot of guys with power and power comes. This is a tough place to hit early in the year and as you can see today, it wasn’t as tough and we had three balls leave the park.”

On Monday the winds at first pitch were estimated at 1 mph, making it the calmest day of the season thus far.

Manager Dale Sveum said during spring training that the corner guys, LaHair and Stewart, were going to have to deliver run production in the form of power hitting if the team had any chance of success.

They both got into the act in the fourth inning with back-to-back home runs off Braves starter Tommy Hanson. It was the first time the Cubs went back-to-back since Aug. 11 or last season when the guys who used to play on the corners did it. Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena did it that day.

“I talked about it in spring that you need power from our two left-handed bats,” Sveum said. “We need to score and score quick form those two guys every once in a while. It was nice to have them back-to-back tonight and to just hit back-to-back because to have two lefties in their bullpen like they do, you have to get to their starter.

“Hopefully those left-handed bats do something against the starter because it’s going to be a fistfight against [Jonny Vinters and [Eric] O'Flaherty.”

LaHair has not only reached base in 25 games now, the longest streak form a Cubs first baseman since Derrek Lee had a 30-game run in 2009, he also has 16 RBIs over his last 19 games with an at-bat. Of his eight home runs, four have tied the game.

Stewart is also getting hot after a recent stretch of bad luck when hard hit balls were going right at the defense. Stewart is now batting .381 (8-for-21) with a double, two home runs and three RBI over his last seven games to raise his batting average from .160 to .208.