Morel starts fast, but Thompson's first dud performance dooms Cubs

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Baltimore Orioles' Cedric Mullins, right, runs the bases after hitting a solo home run off Cubs starting pitcher Keegan Thompson, left, during the first inning on Tuesday. Thompson turned in his first dud performance of the season as the Cubs lost 9-3.

    Baltimore Orioles' Cedric Mullins, right, runs the bases after hitting a solo home run off Cubs starting pitcher Keegan Thompson, left, during the first inning on Tuesday. Thompson turned in his first dud performance of the season as the Cubs lost 9-3. Associated Press

  • Starting pitcher Keegan Thompson turned in his first dud performance of the season as the Cubs lost 9-3 at Baltimore on Tuesday.

    Starting pitcher Keegan Thompson turned in his first dud performance of the season as the Cubs lost 9-3 at Baltimore on Tuesday. Associated Press

  • Christopher Morel homered on the first pitch of the game, but starting pitcher Keegan Thompson turned in his first dud performance of the season as the Cubs lost 9-3 at Baltimore on Tuesday.

    Christopher Morel homered on the first pitch of the game, but starting pitcher Keegan Thompson turned in his first dud performance of the season as the Cubs lost 9-3 at Baltimore on Tuesday. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 6/7/2022 10:14 PM

The Cubs had a chance to continue some positive momentum on the road, using the two most pleasant surprises on the team.

Christopher Morel did his part, blasting a home run over the relocated left-field wall inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

 

But starting pitcher Keegan Thompson turned in his worst outing of 2022, surrendering home runs to the first two Baltimore batters and the Cubs were clubbed 9-3 on Tuesday.

"I don't know. My off-speed stuff was just spinning and staying arm side," Thompson told reporters after the game. "Just looking at older pictures and a couple pictures from tonight, it looked like my stride was a little shorter maybe than normal.

"So my arm might have been dragging a little bit and behind. I think I'll look into that a little more tonight and tomorrow and if that's the case, work on that in the bullpen."

Thompson lasted just 3 innings, allowing 7 runs on 5 hits and 3 home runs. Heading into this game, he was 6-0 with a 1.99 ERA.

Over the weekend at Wrigley Field, Thompson said he didn't even realize he was among the MLB leaders in wins. Since then, the Mets' Carlos Carrasco and Dodgers' Tyler Anderson stepped into the lead by earning their seventh victories.

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"The wins and losses aren't really a huge accomplishment anymore," Thompson said. "It's just more or less try and go deep in a game and give your team a chance to win. If you can come out of the game with a lead, you've pretty much done your job. I'm not really worried about wins and losses honestly."

Asked what he does worry about, Thompson said, "Walks. Try to keep those down as much as possible."

Walks weren't an issue Tuesday, since he only had one. But Thompson hit two batters in the second inning, leading to a 3-run homer by shortstop Jorge Mateo that put the Orioles ahead 5-1.

"The fastball command wasn't there, the breaking balls were a little flat," said Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, who had a home run. "That's why he gave up a lot of runs. Once he gets his angle back, he'll be fine."

Morel added an RBI triple off the center-field wall later in the game to go 2-for-5 on the night. He extended his streak of reaching base to 21 games to start his MLB career.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

According to MLB TV, that's the longest streak since Tampa Bay's Rocco Baldelli -- now manager of the Twins -- reached base in 24 straight games to open his career in 2003.

The Cubs made one roster move before Tuesday's game, activating pitcher Alec Mills while sending pitcher Anderson Espinoza back to Double A Tennessee. It was a timely transaction because Thompson's struggles gave Mills a chance to make his 2022 debut after dealing with a back injury. The Cubs ended up using just two pitchers, with Mills giving up 2 runs over 5 innings.

"It was nice to get back out there," Mills said. "I really wanted to finish the game. I didn't really feel like I ran out of gas too much, so that was a big positive for me and I felt good the whole way through."

Three players on the injured list -- Seiya Suzuki, Jonathan Villar and Yan Gomes -- traveled to Baltimore and took batting practice before the game, but remained inactive.

The Cubs also announced David Bote has paused his rehab assignment with Iowa after experiencing some dizziness. He's coming back from left shoulder surgery. Pitcher Sean Newcomb is slated to make a rehab appearance with Iowa on Wednesday.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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