CHICAGO (AP) Willson Contreras drove in four runs and Carl Edwards Jr. provided some timely relief, helping the Chicago Cubs beat the Chicago White Sox 7-2 on Tuesday.
Ben Zobrist reached four times from the leadoff spot as the Cubs won for the ninth time in 11 games since the All-Star break. John Lackey (7-9) became the first major leaguer to hit four batters in two years, but managed to get into the sixth inning for his second straight victory.
The AL-worst White Sox were unable to overcome a strange performance by Carlos Rodon (1-4) in their 10th loss in 11 games. The left-hander matched a career high with 11 strikeouts and smacked a two-run double for his first career hit, but lasted just four innings in his third straight loss.
Contreras helped the Cubs get off to a fast start with a three-run drive in the first for his 16th homer. He singled in the third and drove in Jon Jay with another base hit in Chicago’s two-run sixth.
Contreras’ three-hit day was a nice rebound performance after he struck out looking with two runners on for the final out in the Cubs’ 3-1 loss in the series opener on Monday. He is batting .347 (25 for 72) with seven homers and 18 RBIs in 18 July games.
The Cubs carried a 4-2 lead into the sixth, but Lackey was pulled after the White Sox put runners on second and third with no outs.
Edwards came in and struck out Tyler Saladino before making an athletic play on Melky Cabrera’s comebacker for the second out. With the Wrigley Field crowd of 40,717 standing and cheering, Edwards then struck out Jose Abreu to end the inning.
The wiry reliever held his arms out and yelled as he left the mound after escaping the jam.
Omar Narvaez went 2 for 2 with two walks for the White Sox, who have dropped 22 of 30. Rodon, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, was charged with four runs and seven hits.
Both benches were warned by home plate umpire Lance Barksdale after White Sox reliever Chris Beck plunked Ian Happ in the fifth. Lackey hit three batters in the top half of the inning, including Abreu for the second time, but Tim Anderson bounced into a fielder’s choice for the final out.
Cubs infielder Javier Baez went 0 for 5 with five strikeouts.
White Sox: 2B Yoan Moncada was visited by a trainer after he was hit on his right wrist by a pitch in the fifth inning. But he stayed in the game.
Cubs: 3B Kris Bryant was shaken up after he fouled a ball off his right knee in the fourth. He stayed in the game, looked at a called third strike and then was ejected for arguing with Barksdale. The 2016 NL MVP went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts.
The home-and-home series moves to the South Side for the next two games. Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta (9-7, 4.11 ERA) faces White Sox RHP James Shields (2-2, 5.79 ERA) on Wednesday night. Arrieta is 2-1 with a 2.13 ERA in four July starts. Shields is winless over his last three outings with a 9.60 ERA.
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