The Chicago Cubs opened this week of games by notching their 11th straight win with a 13-2 thumping of the rival St. Louis Cardinals. It was the biggest home win over the Cards since June 29, 1969, when Ron Santo and Ernie Banks were among those who homered. The last team to extend a winning streak to 11 games with an 11-run victory was the Houston Astros on Sept. 13, 1999.
Last Friday marked the first time four Cubs went deep against St. Louis since June 4, 1989 (Mitch Webster, Ryne Sandberg, Vance Law, Shawon Dunston), and the first time all three Cubs starting outfielders homered in any game since 2011. Pitcher Jerome Williams -- who finished the game after it was already out of hand -- became the first Cardinals reliever to give up four homers since Brett Tomko pitched five-plus innings in 2003.
You can't win 'em all, and Randal Grichuk's eighth-inning grand slam brought an end to the Cubs' streak Saturday. Although Joe Smith got tagged with only one run, he did get tagged with that slam, and is the first Cubs pitcher to allow a slam to the first batter he faced since Thomas Diamond in 2010.
Tuesday featured a day/night doubleheader to make up an April 27 rainout, only the Cubs' fourth twinbill ever with the Milwaukee Brewers, and the first time they had swept one. The last time the Cubs beat "Milwaukee" twice in a day was May 30, 1964, during the Braves years. One of those games was a combined one-hitter by Sterling Slaughter and Lindy McDaniel; the lone hit was an "automatic single" that got scored when runner Hank Aaron was hit by a batted ball.
In sharp contrast to Friday, not only did the Cubs not homer in the day game Tuesday, but also none of their runs scored on a base hit. More on that here.
Thursday's game completed a four-game sweep of the Brewers, and Kris Bryant cleaned up. His five plate appearances were nicely symmetrical: single-homer-double-homer-single. Three of those hits came with runners on base, and he scored four times. Bryant had a similarly huge game back in June, and he joins then-Cleveland Indian Joe Carter in 1986 as the only players with a pair of five-hit games including two homers in the same season. Since RBIs became official in 1920, Bryant is the second player with two five-hit, five-RBI games in the same season. The other was another Cub. Phil Cavarretta did it in 1945 and was the National League MVP that year. Only two Cubs other than Bryant and Cavarretta have had a game with five hits, five RBIs and four runs scored: Frank Demaree in 1936 and Hack Wilson during his record-setting RBI year in 1930.
Bryant's escapades allowed Jake Arrieta to escape with a win Thursday despite a career-high seven walks. He's the first Cubs pitcher to walk seven since Carlos Zambrano in 2011 and the first to win a game while allowing seven walks and five runs since Rick Reuschel against the Giants on Aug. 15, 1979.