|5:05 PM PT6:05 PM MT7:05 PM CT8:05 PM ET20:05 ET0:05 GMT8:05 5:05 PM MST7:05 PM EST7:35 PM VEN4:05 UAE (+1)7:05 PM CT, August 6, 2019
Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois Attendance: 40,627
Baez, Cubs look to stay hot at home vs. A's
Five years ago, Javier Baez burst onto the scene for the Chicago Cubs in electrifying fashion, hitting a game-winning homer at Coors Field in the 12th inning of a highly anticipated major league debut.
Now he is a key contributor to a one-time World Series champion, and he's a two-time All-Star and one of the reasons for Chicago's ascension into first place of a close National League Central race even as a rash of injuries hurts the Cubs.
After hitting two homers Monday, Baez will attempt to help the Cubs keep the good times rolling at Wrigley Field when they continue a three-game interleague series with the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.
Monday marked the five-year anniversary of Baez's debut, and he celebrated the occasion with homers in consecutive at-bats. Baez hit a game-tying homer in the sixth and a two-run homer in the seventh that stood as the winning run when the Cubs held on for a 6-5 victory on a day in which they placed Craig Kimbrel (right knee inflammation) and Willson Contreras (right hamstring) on the injured list.
Chicago is 12-2 in its last 14 home games, and even though it is still struggling to consistently win on the road, Baez is producing at a high level. He is 8-for-17 in Chicago's four-game winning streak and is batting .309 (46-for-149) in his last 36 games dating to June 23.
"Our depth is tested, no doubt," Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told reporters. "Not the best time for injury -- a couple of days into August, but that's the game. There's no sympathy anywhere, so we just have to figure it out."
While the Cubs have an All-Star performer at shortstop, the Athletics also have a steady performer at shortstop in Marcus Semien. Semien homered twice Monday and nearly hit a third homer in the ninth, only to see the wind knock it down at the warning track in left field.
By falling just short, the Athletics lost for only the second time in their last eight games and remained one-half game behind Tampa Bay for the American League's second wild-card spot.
Oakland is making another surge by going 28-13 since June 17 and 45-24 since mid-May. While Khris Davis recently went 29 games without a homer and Matt Chapman is 2-for-42 in his last 11 games, Semien is wielding a hot bat while playing every day.
In his last 23 games, Semien is batting .315 (28-for-89) with six homers and 25 runs scored. He upped his season total to 19 homers Monday and is eight shy of matching his total from last season.
"It's amazing where he's come from and where he is now," Oakland manager Bob Melvin recently told reporters. "I've never been around a big leaguer who's come this far."
A pair of left-handers will oppose each other when Brett Anderson starts for Oakland against Jon Lester.
Anderson (9-7, 4.04 ERA) is 0-2 with a 4.81 ERA in his last four starts and last pitched in a 4-2 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday when he allowed three runs on eight hits in seven innings.
Anderson has a pair of no-decisions and a 1.80 ERA in his two previous outings against Chicago.
Lester (9-7, 3.86) is attempting to reach double figures in wins for the seventh straight season. He last pitched Thursday in St. Louis when he allowed five runs on nine hits in five-plus innings of an 8-0 loss.
Lester is 6-2 with a 2.95 ERA in 11 home starts this season. He also is 6-4 with a 3.56 ERA in 15 career starts against Oakland, for which he started 11 games for during the 2014 season.
--Field Level Media
Updated August 6, 2019