EditorsNote: Update 2: Reworks lede for length, makes long ball two words in lede
Javier Baez hit the eighth pitch of the game for a home run, and Kris Bryant and Albert Almora Jr. added homers Wednesday afternoon, allowing the visiting Chicago Cubs to beat the San Francisco Giants 4-1.
Emergency starter Tyler Chatwood worked four effective innings as the Cubs salvaged a win in the three-game set.
In the wake of a pair of 5-4 losses to open the series, Chicago learned before Wednesday’s afternoon start that Jon Lester would have to be scratched due to an illness. Chatwood, who hadn’t started a game since June 27, took the ball and allowed the red-hot Giants just one run in four innings, leaving with a 4-1 lead.
The Cubs’ bullpen took it from there, with five relievers combining for five shutout innings to end Chicago’s three-game losing streak.
Left-hander Kyle Ryan (3-1) was credited with the win after throwing the first 1 2/3 of the five relief innings, while Craig Kimbrel nailed down his seventh save as a Cub by getting Brandon Belt to line out to left field with two on and two out in the ninth.
The loss was just the Giants’ second in their last 12 games.
As the second batter in the game, Baez got the Cubs started in the right direction when he blasted a pitch from Tyler Beede (3-4) into the bleachers in left field for a 1-0 lead. It was his 25th homer of the season.
Baez doubled in his next at-bat in the third inning, after which Bryant deposited his 21st homer over the fence in center field for a 3-0 advantage.
Almora’s homer, his 10th, came in the fourth inning and completed the game’s scoring.
Bryant later was replaced by David Bote at third base to begin the bottom of the fifth inning with what manager Joe Maddon term right knee soreness.
Beede worked 5 2/3 innings, allowing all four Cubs runs on 10 hits, He walked one and struck out seven.
The Giants’ only run came in the third when, with two outs, Austin Slater singled, Pablo Sandoval walked and Stephen Vogt plated Slater with an RBI single.
The Giants threatened in the ninth when Donovan Solano and Alex Dickerson collected back-to-back singles off Kimbrel. But two pitches later, Kimbrel retired Belt as the potential game-tying run, ending the Giants’ seven-game homestand with five wins.
Baez, Almora and Robel Garcia had two hits apiece for the Cubs, who move on to Milwaukee and St. Louis on their nine-game trip.
Vogt had three hits and Solano two for the Giants, who were out-hit 11-7.
—Field Level Media