The week in interesting and unusual Cubs stats

AP Photo/John Minchillo

The Chicago Cubs had an interesting three days in Cincinnati this week. Along with coming away with a sweep of the Reds, the Cubs accumulated a slew of franchise superlatives and firsts.

Bryant’s crazy, ridiculous, awesome day

Kris Bryant was 5-for-5 with four runs scored and six RBIs Monday. All five hits went for extra bases as Bryant hit three home runs and two doubles.

Bryant became the…

- First player in the modern era (since 1900) with three homers and two doubles in the same game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

- Fourth Cubs player in the past decade and the first since Dioner Navarro in 2013 against the Chicago White Sox to hit three home runs in the same game.

- First Cubs player since Aramis Ramirez in 2011 with at least five hits in a game while recording a hit in every at-bat.

- First Cubs player and fourth player in the modern era to have three home runs and five extra-base hits in the same game, as noted by Elias research.

15 innings of Tuesday madness

The Cubs defeated the Reds 7-2 on Tuesday in 15 innings in one of the oddest games of the season.

The game started with a leadoff home run by Ben Zobrist. Two of Zobrist’s three leadoff homers have come this month, making him the second Cubs player this season with multiple leadoff home runs (Dexter Fowler). The last time the Cubs had two players with multiple leadoff home runs in a season was 2002, when Mark Bellhorn and Corey Patterson both did it.

Jon Lester turned in 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball and drove in the Cubs’ second run. Lester has three RBIs this season after entering the season with one in 114 plate appearances over 10 seasons.

For the fourth time in six appearances, Hector Rondon attempted a save of more than three outs. Since the beginning of 2014, Rondon had pitched more than one inning eight times in 158 appearances entering this stretch. He blew the save.

The Cubs went scoreless between the sixth and 14th innings before breaking things open in the 15th. Bryant hit an RBI single and Javier Baez hit his first career grand slam. By inning, it was the latest grand slam in Cubs history, according to Elias. Elias also notes that the only grand slam later in a game for any team was when Clyde Vollmer hit one in the 16th inning in 1951 for the Red Sox.

But what really takes the cake in odd and unusual occurrences is what manager Joe Maddon did with Spencer Patton, Travis Wood and Pedro Strop in the latter stages of the game.

All three relievers played left field after having not fielded a position other than pitcher in their respective MLB careers. Maddon then rotated them on the mound, with Patton starting the 14th inning, Wood switching places with him from left field, and then Patton finishing off the inning. Strop entered the game in the 15th, but he didn’t pitch, as Wood got the final three outs to get the win.

Elias notes that the last time a team had three pitchers play the field at positions other than pitcher in the same game was June 29, 1961, when the Phillies did so against the Giants.

Power-based performance

The Cubs hit 10 home runs in their series against the Reds this week, with seven players going yard. Along with Bryant’s performance Monday and Zobrist’s leadoff homer Tuesday, there were a couple other notable homers hit:

- Albert Almora Jr. hit his first career home run, joining Jorge Soler, Brett Jackson and Starlin Castro as recent Cubs players to hit their first career home run at Great American Ball Park.

- Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run, inside-the-park home run in the first inning Wednesday, the first inside-the-park home run of his career. It was the first inside-the-park home run by a Cubs player since Tony Campana in 2011, which also against the Reds.

- Jake Arrieta hit his fourth career home run. The homer came on a 99 mph fastball from Michael Lorenzen. That’s the fastest velocity on a pitch hit for a home run by a pitcher since at least 2009.