Fowler and Cubs enjoy needed outburst

Day after sliding to seventh in lineup, outfielder collects two hits as leadoff man

Fowler and Cubs enjoy needed outburst

CHICAGO -- Dexter Fowler sounded like the Cubs' offense when he talked about his struggles at the plate.

"I've been trying to break out for the past couple of months," Fowler said after Chicago's 7-4 victory over St. Louis on Tuesday afternoon in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

Rizzo's two-run homer

Prior to Tuesday's opener, the Cubs had totaled five runs in five games against the Cardinals, and lost all five. Fowler hit an RBI double in a four-run eighth and scored on Anthony Rizzo's opposite-field two-run homer later that inning. Chris Denorfia drove in three runs as Chicago won for just the third time in 11 games against St. Louis. It was just the third time in their last 14 games since June 23 that the Cubs had scored three or more runs.

"The bats are going to be fine," Denorfia said of the Cubs' offense. "Every season, there are ups and downs. You just kind of roll with it and scrape out the runs where you can get them."

Denorfia's two-run single

Fowler's struggles had reached a point where manager Joe Maddon decided to move the outfielder from leadoff to seventh in the lineup on Monday. Maddon and Fowler exchanged text messages on Monday before the lineup was posted.

"I'm fine with it," Fowler said of the brief switch. "I appreciate him texting me, but he's the manager. As long as I'm in the lineup, I'm happy. Anywhere I hit, I'll do the little things to get on base and take the same mindset."

It seemed to work on Tuesday afternoon, as Fowler drew a walk in the first, singled in the third and doubled in the eighth. A switch-hitter who is batting .340 against lefties compared to .210 versus right-handers, Fowler was back in the leadoff spot on Tuesday for both games of the doubleheader.

"Today, it did [work]," Fowler said. "Joe does what he does, and that's why he's the best at it."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.