Chirinos living the dream as Cubs' sixth backup catcher of season
The Cubs will never get a better opportunity to turn their season around than three home games against Arizona, which has now gone 2-31 in its last 33 road games.
Step 1 was accomplished Friday when Javy Baez hit a 3-run homer in the first inning to launch the Cubs toward an 8-3 victory over the Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field.
Baez set the tone, but the hitting hero was backup catcher Robinson Chirinos, who went 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs. It's been quite a journey for Chirinos, who originally signed with the Cubs as a 17-year-old in 2000 and now is a regular at Wrigley Field 21 years later.
"It was awesome," Chirinos said. "It was good to have those 2 homers, but especially catch a win. That was what I was going for today. I know my first two (starts) we lost the game, so I was concentrating to call a good game and make sure I help my team win the game so that was my main focus today."
Manager David Ross gave his own plug for Chirinos, who joined the Cubs on July 5 and is the team's sixth backup catcher of the season.
"He's infectious in his personality around the group," Ross said. "He's always talking baseball. You feel like he's got a real good idea of what he's doing back there with his veteran presence. He's been around a lot of winning. Him coming back to where it started and having that kind of game in this ballpark is really cool.
"He sits close to my seat a lot during the game when he's not playing and it's a fun personality that makes me smile a lot on the bench. So when he has success, I think everybody on the team is rooting for him."
Starting pitcher Zach Davies (6-6) gave up 4 walks in a loss to Arizona last week. This time he delivered a season-high 8 strikeouts with 2 walks. Davies also threw a season-high 107 pitches before leaving in the sixth inning.
Kris Bryant was back in the lineup after missing two starts with a sore hamstring and walked twice. Matt Duffy went 0-for-3 with a walk in his return from the injured list. Keegan Thompson went the final 3 innings to record his first career save.