MLB: Cubs attempt to extend offensive resurgence vs. Twins

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The Chicago Cubs hope they have regained their offensive form that led to some consistent success through the first month of the season.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Twins continue to have their issues at the plate.

Following a late surge to take the opener of a three-game set, the Cubs will aim for a third straight victory on Saturday at Minneapolis.

Chicago totaled 22 runs, and no more than four in any game, during a 2-6 stretch prior to a 10-4 rout of the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday. The Cubs followed that triumph by overcoming a 2-0 hole, scoring two runs in the seventh and three in the ninth, en route to a 6-2 victory over the Twins on Friday.

“We just continue to pass it on to the next guy,” said Cubs manager David Ross, whose team averaged 5.8 runs while starting 11-6 but is putting up 4.3 per game while going 8-13 since.

“All the way around, just really good at-bats (Friday). Collectively, good team approach.”

Chicago’s Ian Happ, who had three hits on Friday, is 10-for-28 (.357) in the past seven games and has reached base in 19 straight. Meanwhile, Christopher Morel delivered a towering two-run homer in the ninth to break open a 3-2 game. Morel is 6-for-13 (.462) with two homers and five RBIs in three games since being recalled from Triple-A Iowa this week.

Minnesota, meanwhile, managed just four hits overall and two second-inning runs in the series opener. The Twins lead the American League Central, but they are 4-6 in May, are hitting a major-league-worst .218 and have been held to three or fewer runs five times in the past seven games.

“It feels like we’ve played a very similar — really the same — game routinely right now,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We need to create some separation in some of these games.”

Minnesota’s Byron Buxton walked on Friday, but he is 0-for-23 in his past seven games. Meanwhile, teammate Carlos Correa doubled in the opener, but he is batting just .193 on the season and has just one multi-hit game in his past 18.

The Twins have scored a total of just two runs during the past two outings of Joe Ryan (5-1, 2.45 ERA), who is the scheduled Saturday starter. Ryan has allowed just four runs (three earned) over 19 innings in his past three starts. The right-hander gave up two of those runs in six innings during a 2-0 defeat at Cleveland on Sunday.

Ryan is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two career starts against the Cubs — both outings in 2021. Happ is 1-for-3 vs. Ryan, while teammate Trey Mancini and Cody Bellinger are a combined 3-for-5 against him.

Scheduled Chicago starter Hayden Wesneski (2-1, 3.93 ERA) was 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA in his first four starts of the season but is 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA and just one walk allowed in the past three. The right-hander yielded one run in each of those three outings, most recently over six innings while fanning six during Chicago’s 5-4, 14-inning loss to the Miami Marlins on Sunday.

Wesneski has never faced the Twins, but Minnesota’s Donovan Solano went 2-for-5 against him last season while with the Cincinnati Reds.

Chicago announced on Friday that second baseman Nico Hoerner (.303, 19 RBIs) went on the injured list due to a hamstring strain sustained earlier this week. Miles Mastrobuoni recalled from Triple-A Iowa, and he went 0-for-1 off the bench on Friday.

–Field Level Media

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