Cubs hold on for 4-3 victory over Blue Jays
CHICAGO — Wade Davis has been consistent for months, but manager Joe Maddon thinks the closer has been getting even sharper.
Davis pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to convert his 26th consecutive save of the season and nail down the Chicago Cubs’ 4-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon.
Davis tied the franchise record for the longest streak of consecutive saves. The Cubs’ Ryan Dempster also saved 26 straight from 2005-06. Davis’ 26 saves in 26 opportunities represent the longest streak in the majors. He has converted his last 31 chances since September with Kansas City.
“That cutter was really good today and the strike throwing is really improving,” Maddon said. “When he’s at that level, he can get anybody out. He’s actually peaking at the right time.”
Javier Baez drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out single in the sixth inning and the Cubs hung on to pick up their second victory in the three-game series.
“The two-out hits are really devastating to the other side, and it really picks you up,” Maddon said.
Ian Happ scored on Baez’s single up the middle after drawing a walk and advancing on a groundout. On Friday, Baez drove in three runs in the Cubs’ 7-4 series-opening victory over the Blue Jays.
Anthony Rizzo’s RBI single provided an insurance run in the seventh inning.
Happ also homered and had an RBI single for the Cubs (65-57), who hold a slim lead in the National League Central.
“He keeps adjusting and keeps virtually getting better every day,” Rizzo said about Happ. “It’s fun seeing his success pay off.”
Toronto (59-64) pulled within one in the eighth on Kevin Pillar’s single off Hector Rondon to drive in Steve Pearce, who singled and took second on third baseman Kris Bryant’s throwing error.
Cubs starter Jose Quintana (4-2 with the Cubs, 8-10 overall) struck out eight and allowed two runs, four hits and two walks (one intentional) in six innings. He was 6-2 with a 1.77 ERA in nine previous career starts against Toronto.
“I tried better command, so it was really better today than last time,” Quintana said. “Try to get quick outs, try to (pitch) longer in the game. It was a close game, but hitters (gave) good support.”
Nick Tepesch allowed two runs and five hits in 3 2/3 innings in his third appearance with Toronto since he was traded from Minnesota on July 23 for cash considerations.
Happ hit his 18th home run to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning and tie the score at 2-2.
The Cubs had runners at second and third after a Quintana sacrifice, but Jon Jay struck out looking against reliever Danny Barnes (2-4) to end the inning. Jay disagreed with the call from home plate umpire Joe West.
Toronto went ahead 2-1 on Raffy Lopez’s two-run single in the top of the fourth. Pillar singled and Darwin Barney doubled before Lopez singled to drive them in.
The Cubs loaded the bases via two walks and a hit batter in the first inning but scored just one run on a Happ single. Toronto got out of the inning with a double play.
“Started off kind of rough there, but got out of it with just giving up the one run,” Tepesch said. “Barnes got us out of the inning with limited damage. Giving up the home run after we score a couple runs is the last thing you want to do there.”
The Blue Jays are 8-6 all time against the Cubs, with their last visit to Wrigley being in 2005.
“We know we got a long way to go, but we’re playing better baseball and competing and staying in games,” Pillar said.
NOTES: The Cubs claimed C Rene Rivera off waivers from the New York Mets. He has a .215 batting average with 34 home runs in parts of nine major league seasons with Seattle, Minnesota, San Diego, Tampa Bay and New York. He was batting .230 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs with the Mets this season. Cubs manager Joe Maddon praised Rivera’s defense and throwing. ... RHP Aaron Brooks was designated for assignment to make room on the Cubs’ 40-man roster. He was 8-9 with a 6.20 ERA at Triple-A Iowa. ... The Blue Jays called up RHP T.J. House because of a taxed bullpen. He was 9-11 with a 4.27 ERA at Triple-A Buffalo. ... Toronto optioned LHP Tim Mayza to Triple-A. He was 0-0 with a 6.00 ERA in three appearances. ... Blue Jays 3B Josh Donaldson moved to shortstop in the eighth inning to play the position for the third time in his career. ... C Mike Ohlman cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Buffalo, the Blue Jays announced. He was designated for assignment Wednesday.