CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs passed out bobbleheads of Willson Conteras, and then watched him perform like an action figure.
Contreras hit two homers and drove in a career-high seven runs, and the Cubs pounded the crosstown White Sox 11-2 on Friday.
Kris Bryant stayed hot, too, hitting his fourth homer in five games. But the afternoon belonged to Contreras.
He capped a five-run first against Carson Fulmer with his second career grand slam . He doubled in the fourth, hit a solo homer in the sixth and added a two-run double in the seventh.
That gave him three doubles, two triples and two homers in his past 10 at-bats. Contreras is also the first Cubs player with seven extra-base hits in two games since at least 1913, according to STATS. He has driving in eight runs and scored four while raising his average from .230 to .268.
“I just think it was a matter of time,” manager Joe Maddon said.
Did the bobblehead have anything to do with it?
“That’s absolutely correct,” Maddon joked. “It had everything to do with the bobblehead.”
Either way, Contreras has never experienced a stretch like this.
“I definitely think that the last couple of games have been two of my best games so far,” he said through a translator. “But just like I’ve had two really good back-to-back games, I also had some games where I was making solid contact — but just hitting it right at people.”
Bryant led off the fourth with his seventh homer and had two of the Cubs’ 15 hits in another easy victory at Wrigley Field. They pounded Miami 31-9 in a three-game sweep this week and have won four straight after a season-high five-game skid.
Tyler Chatwood (3-3) gave up two runs and three hits in five innings to improve to 3-0 in his past four starts. The right-hander walked five, bringing his major league-leading total to 32, while striking out six.
With their sixth straight loss, the White Sox matched the 1948 team for the worst 35-game start in franchise history at 9-26.
Fulmer (2-3) lasted 1 2/3 innings after getting knocked out early in a loss to Minnesota last week. The right-hander gave up five runs and three hits while walking four.
In his past two starts, Fulmer has allowed 10 runs and 10 hits and walked six in 5 1/3 innings. Manager Rick Renteria seemed noncommittal about his future in the rotation, saying it would be “premature to tell you he’s out.”
“We’ll sit down and talk about it, but right now he’s still scheduled to make that next start,” Renteria said. “We’ll see what he can figure out and see if he can put him back on track and continue to move forward.”