Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (7/5/24): Cubs 5, Angels 1 – Steele Does it Himself in Complete Game

Justin Steele has been pitching great for over a month without being rewarded for his work with a victory. He was very determined to avoid that outcome Friday afternoon, throwing a complete game — the first by a Cubs pitcher drafted by the Cubs since Jeff Samardzija on August 18, 2013 — to lead his team to a win over the Angels at a sun-splashed Wrigley Field.

Seiya Suzuki put Chicago ahead in the opening inning with a two-run homer off Griffin Canning that got a helpful push from the wind that was blowing straight out to just reach the basket in center. Ian Happ stayed hot with an RBI single in the 3rd that made it a 3-0 score.

The only blemish against Steele came on a run-scoring single by Taylor Ward in the top of the 5th. The Cubs got that tally right back in the bottom of the frame when Happ knocked in Michael Busch with another hit.

Nico Hoerner extended the advantage to 5-1 by bringing home Tomás Nido with a single in the 6th inning. That was more than enough for Steele, who retired the last 13 Angels he faced to wrap up his complete-game victory. (Box score)

Key Moment

Suzuki dropped another routine fly ball from Logan O’Hoppe with two out in the 4th inning and then Brandon Drury walked to bring up Zach Neto as the potential tying run in a 3-0 game. Neto hit a hard grounder wide of third that Miles Mastrobuoni snagged on a dive and fired to second for a force out to end the threat.

Why the Cubs Won

For a second consecutive day, the offense scored runs to support a quality starting pitching effort. Friday’s start wasn’t just a quality one, it was outstanding and completely avoided the bullpen.

Stats That Matter

  • It’s really hard to believe this is Justin Steele’s first victory since last September with how good he has been his last eight starts: CG, 1 R, 2 H, 7 K, and 2 BB.
  • Happ has completely turned his numbers around since late May. Two more hits and a walk Friday have him up to an .806 OPS for the season.
  • Mastrobuoni add two additional outstanding defensive plays and a double in this one.

Bottom Line

It’s very refreshing to see the Cubs have two productive hitting days in a row and to finally give some support to Steele. The big challenge all year long has been the inability to find any kind of consistency. This is a squad that has not won three consecutive games since April, so it will be interesting to see if even a meager win streak is achievable when they get back at it on Saturday.

On Deck

The Cubs go for a rare series win Saturday at 1:20pm CT. It’s a veteran matchup on the mound between Kyle Hendricks and Tyler Anderson with broadcasts available on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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