BOSTON -- The talk on the field before Wednesday night's Cubs-Red Sox game was about the lack of offense from the Cubs, give or take a Starlin Castro or an Anthony Rizzo.
Naturally, boom, the Cubs go out and send ball after ball flying over the Green Monster in a 16-9 victory. The nine-inning game took 4 hours and 19 minutes, just three minutes shy of the Cubs record for a nine-inning game, set in 2000 against the Brewers
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The wait was worth it for the Cubs, who swept the three-game series.
The Cubs got home runs from Justin Ruggiano, Mike Olt, Welington Castillo and Nate Schierholtz as they outhit the Red Sox 19-16.
"Both clubs were out there swinging the bats a little bit," said Cubs manager Rick Renteria, whose team is 37-46. "We ended up having a lot of really good at-bats, obviously continue to tack on runs."
The one-game outburst doesn't change much about the big picture. The Cubs are still in the bottom half of the National League in the key offensive categories. They scored 2 runs in each of the first two games of this series and managed just 2 in a doubleheader against Washington before that.
"Our offense has been frustrating," said Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer. "We've had some very good individual performances. We just haven't been able to put together quality at-bats. We've struggled to put runs on the board. It's a work in progress. Our young prospects are going to help with the that.
"At the same time, I think the Red Sox are seeing that they have great young players in (Xander) Bogaerts and (Jackie) Bradley and Mookie Betts. It takes time to acclimate to the big leagues. They're learning it right now, and I think we'll probably have that at some point in the future. We're going to have to figure out a way to sort of bridge that and find some guys that can help lengthen that lineup out."
The fourth-inning, 2-run homer by Olt had to help his confidence. He crushed a high drive to left-center over the Monster. Both Olt and outfielder Junior Lake have been struggling with strikeout rates approaching 40 percent.
"Yeah, they are a concern," Hoyer said. "I think both guys provide power. Olt plays good defense, and Lake is getting better and better in the outfield, but I think in scoring position, strategic situations in the game, there are times when you've got to be able to make contact.
"I think that's an area we're going to have to improve -- situational hitting. Strikeouts in today's game are so a part of the game. But ultimately, you're going to have to be able to put a ball in play at the right time and push runs across. Those two guys are struggling to do that. We're high on both guys. I think they both have great futures, but that's part of growing pains they're going to have while playing situational offense."
Olt was a happy camper afterward.
"I think a lot of it goes to when I wasn't playing, I was working hard to get comfortable," he said. "I think I started to figure some things out."