Dexter Fowler started our week of action last Friday with his fourth leadoff homer of the year, and the Chicago Cubs’ sixth overall. That's the most by any Cubs team since 2009, and the earliest date they've hit six since 1994, when Sammy Sosa hit their sixth one on Memorial Day weekend. Fowler also hit a leadoff homer at Miller Park in May, and another last year; he and Rafael Furcal are the only visiting players ever to hit three leadoff homers in Milwaukee (either stadium, and including the Braves years).
Sunday's win over the Brewers featured a five-run seventh inning, all of those charged to reliever Will Smith. Although one run was unearned, Smith became the first pitcher to allow five runs to the Cubs without recording an out since Matt Albers, then of the Red Sox, in 2011.
The Cubs got to see Albers again just one day later; now with the White Sox, he got a hold in the first game of this week's Crosstown Cup. His mound successor, Dan Jennings, became the first White Sox reliever to blow a save opportunity against the Cubs since Matt Thornton in 2012. Jennings, like Thornton, also got the win, in this case because the Sox walked off in the bottom half. It was the Cubs' first walk-off loss to the South Siders since June 27, 2009, when the game-winner was an RBI single by Gordon Beckham (who had just been called up that month).
The Friendly Confines were much more, well, friendly when the series shifted on Wednesday. The Cubs posted an 8-1 victory despite not getting a hit off Anthony Ranaudo until the sixth inning. According to Elias, it's the first time the Cubs have recovered to score eight runs after getting no-hit through five frames since July 20, 1974, when Don Kessinger started the sixth with a single off the Reds' Clay Kirby and the floodgates opened on an 11-6 win.
Addison Russell's first career grand slam broke things open in the eighth inning and made him the youngest player with the Cubs to hit a slam since 21-year-old outfielder Nelson Mathews did it against the Dodgers on Sept. 16, 1962. Since interleague play began in 1997, the Cubs have hit six grand slams against the White Sox, their most off any American League opponent, and tied for the most by any team against any interleague opponent (strangely, the White Sox have also hit six against the Cubs).
Ranaudo, for his part, hit the first home run by an American League pitcher this season; the previous one, by Daniel Norris in his first career at-bat last August, was also at Wrigley Field. In Wrigley Field's 103-season history, those are the only two home runs hit there by AL pitchers.
Record watch: That Wednesday game was the Cubs' 100th of the year, and they finished it with the nice round mark of 60-40. The last Cubs team to be .600 or better through 100 games was also the last to be exactly 60-40; however, that 1977 squad lost 11 of its next 16 (while the Phillies won 13 straight and 19 of 20) and eventually finished 20 games out.