Since all the talk in Chicago has been about hockey -- and rightfully so -- we're here to tell you there was nothing wrong with the Cubs' power play Sunday.
The Cubs put up 8 hits in their 4-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field, and 7 were for extra bases. Starlin Castro had 2 of the Cubs' 5 doubles, and Mike Olt and Welington Castillo added to the slugging-percentage party with home runs.
On the mound, starter Travis Wood wasn't overpowering, but he held the Brewers hitless through the first 4⅓ innings en route to a 7-inning performance and a winning decision. But the bullpen certainly tossed up some smoke, with Brian Schlitter and Hector Rondon striking out four between them over the final two innings with Rondon earning his fifth save in 5 chances.
At the end of the day, the Cubs wound up with a series victory, taking two of three from their neighbors from the north.
The moral of the story is that power gets the job done a whole lot faster than nickel-and-diming the opponent.
"Just getting guys on base is huge," said Olt, who leads the Cubs with 9 home runs. He also leads National League rookies in homers and RBI (20). "Extra-base hits are great, but hits in general. We put some good at-bats together today, and we were able to come through when we needed to come through."
Castillo's homer came after Luis Valbuena led off the second inning with a walk. Castro and Valbuena hit back-to-back doubles in the third. Olt led off the fourth with his homer, a line shot into the left-field bleachers.
All the runs came against Brewers starter Marco Estrada.
"A couple of guys ended up driving the ball well," said Cubs manager Rick Renteria, whose team is 15-27. "Again, RBI situations. All the guys put together some pretty good at-bats to try to get Estrada up (in the strike zone), and they did a nice job."
Wood (4-4) walked three batters in a 23-pitch first inning but economized after that. He gave up a 2-run homer to Rickie Weeks in the fifth -- a massive drive to left-center -- but he made it through 7 with a total pitch count of 103.
After that, it was pretty much lights out for the Brewers, who could barely touch Park Ridge resident Schlitter or Rondon, both of whom have emerged in a revamped bullpen along with hard-throwing youngster Neil Ramirez.
"All the guys that we have, we're happy with the way they're throwing the ball right now," Renteria said. "Is it nice to have that type of strength? Anybody would like to have that."
Rondon, a Rule 5 draft pick last year, regrouped nicely in the ninth inning after giving up a leadoff double to Ryan Braun. Rondon finished with strikeout, popout, strikeout.
"I think our bullpen is good because we have good arms, everybody throws strikes," Rondon said.