BOSTON -- Having to face the defending World Series champs is apparently no problem for the Cubs. Last year, they swept the 2012 champion Giants in San Francisco, and on Wednesday, the Cubs completed a three-game sweep of the current reigning champs, the Red Sox, with a surprising offensive outburst.
Justin Ruggiano, Mike Olt and Welington Castillo each belted two-run home runs and Nate Schierholtz added a solo shot to power the Cubs to a 16-9 victory over the Red Sox in front of a sellout crowd of 37,055 at Fenway Park.
The win completed the Cubs' first Interleague series sweep since going 3-0 against the Indians on June 19-21, 2009, and it was their first Interleague sweep on the road since they took three against the White Sox on June 22-24, 2007, which do count as away games even though they are just eight miles south of Wrigley Field.
"The Red Sox were obviously the world champs last year and we knew what we were coming into," Olt said. "For us to come in here to sweep the series -- we know we have what it takes, but it's a matter of actually executing and finishing the job. I think for us this will give us a little bit of confidence going into the All-Star break."
"To sweep any series on the road is good," said Darwin Barney, who had four hits and missed hitting for the cycle by a home run. "We're coming around and hope we can get better."
It took awhile, as the game lasted 4 hours, 19 minutes, and was the longest nine-inning game played in the Major Leagues this season. It was worth it for the Cubs, who haven't had much to cheer about this season.
"We ended up having a lot of really good at-bats," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "I thought they had a real good idea of what they wanted to do when they went to the plate. ... All things being equal, we got some pitches to hit, we did what we needed to do with them, and fortunately for us we came out on top."
Runs had been tough to come by lately. The Cubs had scored two or fewer runs in each of their last four games before Wednesday, and scored more runs in the first against Boston starter Brandon Workman than they did in each of the first two games of the series.
Chris Coghlan walked to lead off the game against Workman, and Ruggiano followed with his home run, launching it over the Green Monster in left. Starlin Castro added a RBI single to make it 3-0.
The Red Sox scored on Jonny Gomes' sacrifice fly in the third, but Castillo walked in the Chicago fourth to set up Olt's towering home run, also over the left-field wall. It was his 11th, which leads all National League rookies. The homer also snapped an 0-for-13 skid for the third baseman. Barney followed with a triple off the wall, then scored on Coghlan's sacrifice fly.
"I mean, I didn't really set a good tone coming out," Workman said. "Three runs in the first gets them in a swinging mindset. They start feeling good about themselves. I got their bats warmed up for the bullpen and put some guys in bad spots."
For Olt, who grew up in Connecticut and went to games at Fenway Park as a kid, it was a dream come true to launch a ball over the Green Monster.
"We used to come to games here, and the fact that I was able to come out here and play and do well is big for me," he said. "I have [dreamed of hitting a homer over the wall]-- I'd be lying if I said I didn't. It's definitely something I'll remember."
The Red Sox tallied in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by David Ortiz and a RBI single by Gomes to chase Travis Wood, who posted his second shortest outing of the season. In his last three starts, he's given up nine runs on 18 hits and 12 walks over 15 innings.
"His command was just off a little bit and his pitches were up," Renteria said of Wood. "He was grinding and had a little hiccup. We had to help him out a little bit."
They definitely picked up the lefty:
• The 16 runs and 19 hits were the second highest run and hit totals of the season, behind a 17-5 game at St. Louis on May 12.
• This was the first road series sweep since the Cubs' three-game series against the Giants on July 26-28, 2013, in San Francisco.
• The Cubs totaled 10 extra-base hits, the most since Aug. 30, 2010, against the Pirates. This was the first time they hit four homers in a game since June 14, 2005, against the Marlins.
• Each Cubs batter had a hit, with seven of the nine recording multihit efforts.
Castillo hit his home run with two outs in the fifth off Felix Doubront, and Schierholtz led off the eighth with his fifth of the year. The Cubs added six runs in the ninth, including two on Ruggiano's double, who finished with a career-high five RBIs.
"Hopefully, this is something we build off of," Ruggiano said. "We all contributed today and even though our pitchers gave up some runs, we kept putting runs back on and answering every run they scored in the bottom of the inning. It was fun -- I love seeing everyone get hits and RBIs and run around the bases, especially in this environment. It's a lot of fun to play here."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.