As the Cardinals loom, Cubs’ hitters are strong again in sweeping the Mets

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 14: Chicago Cubs' Kyle Schwarber (12) hits a triple during the game between the New York Mets and the Chicago Cubs on September 14, 2017 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – Nothing like facing a team that’s 20-games under .500 to get the bats out of a September slumber.

Certainly Jen-Ho Tseng appreciates it. Joe Maddon does too. A three-game offensive charge also gave Cubs fans a little more faith before arguably the team’s biggest series to date.

With the brooms ready for the Mets, the Cubs offense slammed out 14 hits and matched the same number in runs in a 14-6 victory that gave them a three-game sweep against the NL East team playing out the string.

Meanwhile the there-straight wins give the Cubs a three-game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central as they come to town for a three-game series at Wrigley Field this weekend.

Ten different Cubs got hits on the night with Anthony Rizzo leading the way with three hits and a pair of RBIs. Jason Heyward had a team-high 4 RBIs – three of which came on his tenth homer of the year in the sixth inning.

It brings the team’s run total for the series to 39 runs in three games, which comes after the team scored just three in a sweep by the Brewers the series before at Wrigley Field. The 31 runs are the most in two consecutive games for the Cubs this season.

This offense was welcomed by Tseng, the Cubs’ minor league pitcher of the year who was the surprise starter in place of Mike Montgomery. While he struck out six, the pitcher was tagged for a run in the first, two in the second, then a pair of runs on back-to-back homers by Dominic Smith and Travis d’Arnaud in the third that put the Mets up 5-3.

Rizzo got the offense going in the bottom half of the inning with his 32 homer of the year to make it 5-4. Things broke open in the fourth when the Cubs struck for five runs to put them firmly ahead, then got five more in the sixth, including that Heyward homer, to blow it open.

Sweeping the Mets is one thing but doing so against the Cardinals will be another, thought the Cubs have recent history on their side. This season the Cubs are 8-4 against their NL Central rivals in St. Louis, taking 2-of-3 in their last series at Wrigley Field in July.

Should they bring out the brooms by bringing out the bats in this upcoming series, the Cubs figure to take another major step towards their third playoff berth in as many years.