CHICAGO — Kyle Schwarber got off to a terrible start this year with the Chicago Cubs. He was sent down to Triple-A Iowa last month and then recalled after a short stint in the minors.
After months of work with a couple of different hitting coaches, it looks as if he might be coming around at the plate.
Schwarber homered twice and drove in four runs, and the rolling Cubs beat the Chicago White Sox 6-3 on Thursday night for their third consecutive victory.
“It’s all paying off,” he said. “Like I said, I can’t be result-based. I want to be process-based still, and today was a good day.”
Anthony Rizzo also connected and Jon Lester pitched seven effective innings as the Cubs improved to 11-2 since the All-Star break. The NL Central leaders also increased their advantage over the second-place Brewers to 1 1/2 games ahead of their big series this weekend in Milwaukee.
Lester (8-6) allowed two runs and four hits in his third straight win since he got just two outs in the shortest start of his career on July 9 against Pittsburgh. The starting pitchers for the Cubs are 10-0 with a 2.50 ERA in the last 13 games.
“We got a chain going,” Lester said. “We’re pitching well. We’re playing well on all aspects of the game. We’re doing everything pretty solid right now.”
Jose Abreu homered twice and Willy Garcia also went deep for the lowly White Sox, who have lost seven in a row at home for the first time since 2011 and 12 of 13 overall. Mike Pelfrey (3-8) was tagged for five runs and six hits in five-plus innings.
“I’d like to go a lot deeper,” Pelfrey said. “It’s kind of been a concern all year. Tonight I felt like I could’ve gone deeper being at 75 pitches, but I wasn’t necessarily getting guys out to do my part.”
After winning 3-1 at Wrigley Field on Monday, the White Sox dropped three in a row by a combined score of 21-8. The Cubs won the season series for the first time since they went 4-0 against the White Sox in 2013.
Garcia’s leadoff drive in the third put the White Sox in front, but the Cubs went ahead to stay with three in the fourth.
Rizzo led off with a drive to right-center for his 24th homer. Willson Contreras then walked and Schwarber belted an opposite-field shot to left for his 16th of the season.
Schwarber added a run-scoring triple in the sixth against David Holmberg and a solo drive off Aaron Bummer in the eighth for his fourth career multihomer game. He is batting .333 (8 for 24) with three homers and six RBIs in his last eight games.
“Right now the game’s slowing down again. His confidence is building,” manager Joe Maddon said. “As his confidence builds, you’re going to see less swings and misses on his pitch, or less fouling off of his pitch. It was really nice to see tonight.”
Rizzo and Albert Almora Jr. each had two hits for the Cubs, who improved to 8-7 in interleague play after going 15-5 against the American League last year. Contreras walked twice and scored two runs, continuing an impressive July for the young catcher.
The White Sox placed All-Star outfielder Avisail Garcia on the 10-day disabled list and traded reliever Dan Jennings to Tampa Bay for minor league first baseman Casey Gillaspie. Willy Garcia and Bummer were promoted from Triple-A Charlotte.
Avisail Garcia is out with a sprained right thumb. He has been one of Chicago’s only bright spots, batting .303 with 13 homers and 54 RBIs in 88 games.
Cubs: OF Jon Jay was hit on the head by a pitch from Holmberg in the sixth. Maddon and a trainer came out to check on him, but he stayed in the game.
Cubs: LHP Jose Quintana (6-8, 4.22 ERA) makes his third start with the Cubs on Friday night at Milwaukee. “Tomorrow is a big night for us. It’s exciting,” said Quintana, who was acquired in a trade with the White Sox on July 13. LHP Brent Suter (1-1, 2.84 ERA) gets the ball for the Brewers.
White Sox: LHP Derek Holland (5-9, 5.12 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series against Cleveland on Friday night. RHP Danny Salazar (3-5, 4.79 ERA) pitches for the AL Central-leading Indians.
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