EditorsNote: revises fourth graf to reflect Dodgers’ win
Chicago shortstop Javier Baez homered for the second consecutive game, Daniel Murphy also homered, and the Cubs increased their National League Central lead to 3 1/2 games with a 9-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday in Phoenix.
Top NL MVP candidate Baez has 33 homers and an NL-leading 107 RBIs. For the second consecutive game, he was serenaded by “MVP” chants from a boisterous, pro-Cubs crowd.
Baez and Murphy each had two hits and two RBIs, Murphy scored three times, and Anthony Rizzo had a two-run single as the Cubs (89-62) won for the fifth time in six games and gained a game on the second-place Milwaukee Brewers (86-66). The teams do not play again this season.
Ketel Marte hit his 12th homer for the Diamondbacks, who had four hits. Third-place Arizona, which has lost nine of 11, is six games back of the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West and six games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second NL wild card with 10 games to play. The Diamondbacks led the division on Sept. 1.
Cubs left-hander Mike Montgomery (5-5) gave up one run and four hits in a season-high-tying six innings. He struck out a season-high eight and walked one.
Murphy singled to open the game and scored on Baez’s homer for a 2-0 lead off right-hander Matt Andriese (3-6), who was making his first start for Arizona after being acquired from Tampa Bay at the trade deadline. Anthony Rizzo lined out to end a 17-pitch at-bat before Baez homered.
Jason Heyward doubled with one out in the second inning and scored on Ian Happ’s two-out double before Murphy homered for a 5-0 lead. Murphy was 4-for-31 (.129) in his previous nine games.
Marte homered in the second, only the ninth homer Montgomery has allowed in 117 2/3 innings this season.
In a four-run Chicago fifth inning, Rizzo hit a two-run single, Willson Contreras drove in a run with a groundout and Albert Almora Jr. hit a sacrifice fly for a 9-1 lead.
Andriese gave up five hits and five runs in two innings, with four strikeouts and no walks. He filled the rotation spot vacated when Clay Buchholz was shut down for the season due to an elbow injury.
—Field Level Media