The Cubs would have been fortunate to score 20-runs in one week last season. But on May 5, 2001 Chicago lambasted the Dodgers 20-1 at Wrigley Field (video below).
The offensive outburst was highlighted by Sammy Sosa’s 3-for-5 day at the plate including a 2-R HR in the bottom of the fourth (Sosa hit 64 HR, 160 RBI for the season). Damon Buford also went 3-for-5 with 2 RBI and Bill Mueller drew four walks and scored three runs.
Darren Dreifort started for LA allowing four-runs in six innings, but the bulk of the damage came against Terry Adams who failed to record an out while giving up seven earned-run on six hits. Jose Nunez didn’t provide much relief issuing nine more runs (five earned).
You’ll get a chuckle watching the television opening when it’s said the Cubs are throwing their ‘crown jewel’ Julian Tavarez. At the time Tavarez was 28 and had signed with Chicago as a free agent in the offseason. He finished the campaign (10-9, 4.52) and then was packaged with Dontrelle Willis in a trade to Miami in late March of 2002 (Antonio Alfonseca & Matt Clement).
Funny enough, the last Cubs pitcher to win 20-games in a season, Jon Lieber (20-6), was on the ‘01 team as well as Kerry Wood (12-6) and Jason Bere (11-11). Tavarez posted the highest ERA and fewest innings pitched of anyone on the staff, including Kevin Tapani (9-14, 4.49). Crown jewel, indeed.
In this game, however, Tavarez had one of his better outings limiting Los Angeles to one-run on six hits over seven innings. Courtney Duncan pitched the final two frames to seal the victory.
The heavy-handed win kept the Cubs (18-11) atop the NL Central. By mid June Chicago pushed its division lead to 6.0 games, but in typical Cubs fashion the lead wouldn’t last long.
Houston and St. Louis stormed back to catch the Cubs two months later. In early September Chicago had fallen to third place while the Astros and Cardinals jumped ahead to finish the season tied for first at (93-69). Houston was awarded the division title having won the regular seasons series vs. St. Louis. Meanwhile, the Cubs (88-74) finished third under Don Baylor, five games back in the NL Central.