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updated: 4/6/2014 9:41 PM

Cubs make their hits count

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  • Ryan Kalish hits a 2-run double during the sixth inning of the Cubs' victory over Philadelphia on Sunday.

      Ryan Kalish hits a 2-run double during the sixth inning of the Cubs' victory over Philadelphia on Sunday.
    Associated Press

  • Starlin Castro waves to his dugout after hitting an one-run double during the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Chicago, Sunday, April 6, 2014.

      Starlin Castro waves to his dugout after hitting an one-run double during the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Chicago, Sunday, April 6, 2014.
    Associated Press

 
 

All respect to Cubs bosses Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, but there are no geniuses in baseball.

Anybody who thinks they have this game figured out should have watched Sunday's Cubs-Phillies battle at Wrigley Field.

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The Cubs entered the game having scored 8 runs total in their first five games, and their hitters were 4-for-40 with runners in scoring position.

Manager Rick Renteria came up with a different lineup again, dropping Starlin Castro to the sixth spot while Cubs fans on social media howled.

Guess what? It all worked out, and then some, as the Cubs doubled their run output for the season in one day during an 8-3 victory.

They went 4-for-7 with runners in scoring position and drew 7 walks. The Cubs managed only 6 hits in scoring 8 runs, but on Saturday, they had 10 hits and were shut out.

Castro had an RBI double in the Cubs' 4-run first inning, and backup outfielder Ryan Kalish started and went 2-for-3 with a first-inning triple, a sixth-inning double, 2 walks and 3 RBI.

"It's awesome," said Castro, who has heard some boos at Wrigley Field. "We waited for that a long time."

Kalish also used the word "awesome." He went to spring training as a nonroster man after missing all of 2013 with the Red Sox after undergoing shoulder surgery in January of that year. The best part of Sunday was that his parents were watching from the stands.

"We just need to build off each day," he said. "We're in games. We're in every day. It's not like we're getting blown out or anything. Things are close. If we can keep this momentum going and just continue to build, I think, 'Why not us?'

"I know we haven't gotten off to the best start (2-4), but in this clubhouse, everyone's really close for (being together) for such a short time, so it's really fun. Obviously, once you get the bats going, it's a lot of fun."

The Cubs got their runs in odd ways in the first against A.J. Burnett. They were patient at the plate, working 3 walks. After 2 of those walks, Nate Schierholtz and Castro jumped all over first pitches and made them count with a sacrifice fly and a double, respectively.

After the bats cooled in the middle innings, the Cubs added 4 important tack-on runs in the sixth, with Kalish's 2-run double being a key hit.

The Cubs will relax with an off-day Monday. Now, maybe the hitters will relax at the plate after putting up the 8-spot.

"It's nice to go into the break, with the day off and that mindset is very positive," Renteria said. "It is helpful."

But it's not easy to figure. Renteria said Castro in the 6-hole will not be an everyday occurrence. So figure, if you can figure anything, that Tuesday night's lineup against the Pirates is liable to be totally different.

"You'll probably see him in any number of the spots throughout," the manager said of Castro. "I knew he had good number against Burnett (9-for-22 entering the game). He ended up taking advantage of it in the first inning.

"It's like anything. We're just trying to help them get comfortable wherever it is. No big deal to him."

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