By ANDREW SELIGMAN, AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs passed out bobbleheads of Willson Conteras, and then watched him perform like an action figure.
Contreras hit two homers and drove in a career-high seven runs, and the Cubs pounded the crosstown White Sox 11-2 on Friday.
Kris Bryant stayed hot, too, hitting his fourth homer in five games. But the afternoon belonged to Contreras.
He capped a five-run first against Carson Fulmer with his second career grand slam . He doubled in the fourth, hit a solo homer in the sixth and added a two-run double in the seventh.
That gave him three doubles, two triples and two homers in his past 10 at-bats. Contreras is also the first Cubs player with seven extra-base hits in two games since at least 1913, according to STATS. He has driving in eight runs and scored four while raising his average from .230 to .268.
“I just think it was a matter of time,” manager Joe Maddon said.
Did the bobblehead have anything to do with it?
“That’s absolutely correct,” Maddon joked. “It had everything to do with the bobblehead.”
Either way, Contreras has never experienced a stretch like this.
“I definitely think that the last couple of games have been two of my best games so far,” he said through a translator. “But just like I’ve had two really good back-to-back games, I also had some games where I was making solid contact — but just hitting it right at people.”
Bryant led off the fourth with his seventh homer and had two of the Cubs’ 15 hits in another easy victory at Wrigley Field. They pounded Miami 31-9 in a three-game sweep this week and have won four straight after a season-high five-game skid.
Tyler Chatwood (3-3) gave up two runs and three hits in five innings to improve to 3-0 in his past four starts. The right-hander walked five, bringing his major league-leading total to 32, while striking out six.
With their sixth straight loss, the White Sox matched the 1948 team for the worst 35-game start in franchise history at 9-26.
Fulmer (2-3) lasted 1 2/3 innings after getting knocked out early in a loss to Minnesota last week. The right-hander gave up five runs and three hits while walking four.
In his past two starts, Fulmer has allowed 10 runs and 10 hits and walked six in 5 1/3 innings. Manager Rick Renteria seemed noncommittal about his future in the rotation, saying it would be “premature to tell you he’s out.”
“We’ll sit down and talk about it, but right now he’s still scheduled to make that next start,” Renteria said. “We’ll see what he can figure out and see if he can put him back on track and continue to move forward.”
On a cool and soggy afternoon, Fulmer gave up a leadoff double to Ben Zobrist in the first and quickly unraveled after that. He walked two in the inning and hit Kris Bryant in the left arm.
Anthony Rizzo drove in Zobrist with a single, and Contreras delivered the big blow one out later. He knocked a 3-2 pitch to the center-field basket after falling behind 0-2, giving the Cubs their first grand slam of the season.
Contreras’ seven RBIs were the most by a Cubs player since Aramis Ramirez drove in seven against Houston on July 20, 2010. … Rizzo is 12 for 34 with 11 RBIs in May.
White Sox: OF Avisail Garcia (strained right hamstring) ran in the outfield prior to the game, though manager Rick Renteria offered no timetable for his return. Garcia has not played since April 23.
Cubs: RHP Yu Darvish (flu) will come off the 10-day disabled list to start Tuesday at Atlanta, and LHP Jose Quintana will pitch Monday on his regular rest against the Braves at Wrigley Field.
White Sox: RHP James Shields (1-3, 5.14 ERA) goes for his first victory since the season opener. Winless in his past seven appearances (six starts), he took a no-hitter into the seventh against Minnesota on Sunday but did not figure in the decision as the White Sox lost.
Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (2-1, 2.82) looks to continue his run of strong outings. The four-time All-Star is 1-1 with a 1.88 ERA in his past four starts.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
© 2018, The Village Reporter and/or The Associated Press. All rights reserved.