Happ sizzles with four-hit day in win over Rangers
Jerome Miron - USA Today Sports

Happ sizzles with four-hit day in win over Rangers

by - Senior Writer -

ARLINGTON - There was an old saying for the Chicago Cubs (1-2) that went You go, We Go. In case you forgot, that was the saying the team came up for Dexter Fowler during their World Series run in 2016. You could make the case that season was the last time they had a bonafide leadoff hitter, which this team could desperately use.

This season, the Cubs have a leadoff man in mind, and if the early season results indicate how things will go, he may be the new You go, We go Guy. The man we are talking about is Ian Happ, who was the perfect leadoff man against the Texas Rangers (2-1) at Globe Life Field on Sunday. Happ recorded three hits and reached base five times in the game. He also drove in three runs from the leadoff spot, including the winning run in the ninth to give the Cubs a 9-5 victory.

This was a much-needed win for a team that looked lifeless at times the first two games. They can now head home on a winning note. Taking the ball for the Cubs was left-hander Jordan Wicks, whose strong spring earned him the No. 3 spot in the rotation. It was an interesting start, to say the least, for Wicks as he struck out six and walked three in four innings. Wicks allowed five runs during his outing, but only two were earned, as the defense did him no favors early on.

Taking the ball for Texas was Jon Gray, who, like Wicks, had an interesting outing. Gray pitched into the fourth, allowing five runs with four earned, but he was unable to finish the fourth, putting a ton of pressure on the bullpen. As bad as things have been for the Cubs to start the season off, they have had no trouble scoring first, which continued to be the trend here, with Christopher Morel launching his first homer of the season to put the Cubs in front 3-0 in the first.

When you look at how things have gone this series, a multiple run lead was huge for the Cubs as a pair of two out singles from Mike Tauchman and Miguel Amaya had the Cubs threatening again in the second only to come away empty. As was the case in every game this season, whenever the Cubs scored, the Rangers had an answer, with their first answer coming in the second inning.

Aided by a costly throwing error by Morel and a pair of two-out walks, it was the Rangers with the bases loaded and the heart of their lineup due up. That included Marcus Semien, who continued to mash the ball as his well-struck single to left brought home a pair and cut the Cubs lead to 3-2. Wicks settled down to keep the Rangers off the board in the third as it was time for the Cubs offense to get going again.

Once again, it was the bottom of the order getting things started, as the one-out Tauchman walk was followed by the Amaya single. That set the tone for one of Happ's three hits in the game, as he smoked a liner to right center to extend the lead to 4-2.

An error on the same play gave the Cubs a 5-2 lead. That proved to be the end of the road for Gray, as he was lifted before the end of the fourth in favor of the pen.

At this point, you had to like the position the Cubs were in with Wicks on the mound, but leave it to the Rangers offense and an uncharacteristic error by Dansby Swanson in the bottom of the fourth to set up the offense again. Semien was the catalyst once again as his double off the wall made things 5-3 as he was responsible for all three runs up to that point. One batter later it was time for the rookie sensation Wyatt Langford to take one over the head of Cody Bellinger in center as his RBI triple brought things back to even 5-5 and a whole new ball game.

Little did anyone know, that rapid offensive onslaught from both teams would be it when it came to runs for five innings as both bullpens took over from there. Whether it be Mark Leiter Jr, Julian Merryweather or Hector Neris for the Cubs, they did the job they needed to do as the Cubs pitching staff combined to walk four and strike out 13.

The same can be said for the Rangers, although their command was an issue all game long. Anytime you walk more than you strike out, you are living dangerously, which was the case in the eighth inning when the Cubs loaded the bases only to have Morel pop out to end the threat. The same can't be said in the ninth inning as Jose LeClerc struggled throughout.

Whether it be the Nico Hoerner single, or the two walks around it, the Cubs had the bases loaded with only one out. Facing another bases loaded and two-out situation, Happ capped off his career day with another walk which brought home the go-ahead and winning run 6-5. That walk was followed by RBI singles from Seiya Suzuki and Bellinger as the Cubs pushed across four runs in their half of the ninth to take a 9-5 lead.

Looking to rebound from a shaky opening day outing, Adbert Alzolay was called on to finish things off, and that he did as he struck out a pair in his inning of work to give the Cubs a 9-5 win.

Happ was the man of the game for the Cubs, leading the way with four hits and reaching base five times while driving in two.

Amaya and Suzuki added two hits with Morel leading the way with three RBIs in the win.

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