Observations: Anthony Rizzo, Javy Báez stay hot, Cubs sweep Padres

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Observations: Rizzo, Báez stay hot as Cubs sweep Padres originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Cubs swept the Padres in three games, beating San Diego 6-1 in the series finale Wednesday at Wrigley Field. It was the Cubs' fourth sweep of the season. The Cubs have won nine of their last 10 games.

Here are 10 observations from Wednesday's game:

  1. The Padres had the best record in the National League when they entered the series. Over the course of three games, San Diego (34-23) dropped to second in the NL West, and the Cubs (32-23) claimed sole possession of first in the NL Central.

  2. Cubs pitcher Adbert Alzolay held the Padres to one run in five innings. He struck out seven, tied for a season high.

  3. Alzolay didn't allow a run until the fourth inning. With two outs and one runner on, Alzolay issued a walk and then gave up an RBI single to Padres shortstop Ha-Seong Kim. Alzolay struck out the next batter to get out of the inning.

  4. After a flurry of home runs against the Padres the last two games, the Cubs scored their first run of Wednesday's game with a series of hard ground balls. Anthony Rizzo and Patrick Wisdom, hitting No. 4 and 5 in the Cubs batting order, each singled. Then, Rafael Ortega reached on a fielding error by Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer, and Rizzo scored.

  5. Kim and Padres left fielder Tommy Pham left the game after a fourth-inning collision. Cubs catcher P.J. Higgins hit a blooper into shallow left field. Both going after the fly ball, Pham and Kim knocked heads, and the ball dropped. In the confusion, the Cubs baserunners stayed in place, giving Kim time to throw the ball in to third base to initiate an inning-ending double play. Athletic trainers checked on Pham and Kim in left field before they eventually walked off, Kim assisted by a trainer.

  6. Larry Rothschild, former Cubs and current Padres pitching coach, was ejected from the dugout in the fifth inning. It marked his first ejection since 2017.

  7. Rizzo has gone 5-for-8 since returning to the lineup Tuesday. In the fifth inning Wednesday, Rizzo hit a two-run double with two outs. "When you play as much as he does, the rest probably does him more good than it hurts his rhythm." Cubs manager David Ross said after the game. "He's got fresh legs underneath him." Prior to Tuesday, Rizzo had missed six straight games with back tightness.

  8. Cubs second baseman Sergio Alcántara hit his first triple as a Cub and second of his career in the seventh inning Wednesday. He later scored on a fielding error by Padres shortstop Jake Cronenworth.

  9. Cubs shortstop Javier Báez hit his third home run of the series on Wednesday, a two-run shot in the seventh inning. Already leading the Cubs in home runs, Báez boosted his season total to 14.

  10. Higgins logged his first career hit in the eighth inning, a line drive into left field. The hit ended an 0-for-15 streak. "Every time P.J. gets up, the whole dugout's locked in and hoping for the best," Ross said. "That's one of those feel-good moments you'll never forget."

On Deck: The Cubs open a seven-game West Coast road trip at San Francisco on Thursday. Right-hander Zach Davies is scheduled to take the mound for the Cubs and Anthony DeSclafani for the Giants.

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