Game Fifty-Four – Cubs 5, Diamondbacks 3
WP – Jason Hammel (7-1) LP – Edwin Escobar (0-2) Save – Hector Rondon (10)
Jason Hammel quieted any concerns about his hamstring Saturday. Hammel pitched a very good game and delivered the game-winning hit with the bases loaded and two down in the fourth inning. Hammel allowed two runs on one hit in seven innings and helped his own cause in the fourth inning with a two-run single that gave the Cubs a 4-2 lead.
Dexter Fowler smacked a home run in the first inning. And Anthony Rizzo launched a solo shot in the eighth as the Cubs beat the Diamondbacks for the second day in a row at the old ballyard.
Saturday was not an oil painting in what was a sloppy day at Wrigley Field. The Cubs did not stick with the game plan against D-Backs’ starter Edwin Escobar but did enough to win the game. The Cubs defense made the plays once again while the offense took advantage of the Diamondbacks’ miscues. Teams simply cannot give the Cubs extra opportunities and expect to beat them.
Jason Hammel was a little shaky in the rain during the first inning. Hammel issued a two out walk to Paul Goldschmidt. Jake Lamb made Hammel pay for a poorly located fastball. Lamb launched a two-run homer and just like that the Cubs were down 2-0. But that would be the last hit Hammel gave up on the afternoon. Hammel retired the last 13 batters he faced and 19 of 20. Hammel faced just three over the minimum on what turned out to be an excellent outing.
Jason Hammel (1-for-2 with two RBI) also delivered at the plate once again. After Jorge Soler (1-for-3 with a double and a RBI) doubled in Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4 with a home runs and two runs scored) to tie the game at two in the fourth, the Diamondbacks decided to face Hammel with two outs and the bases loaded. David Ross (0-for-3 with a walk) was intentionally walked to set it up for Hammel.
Jason Hammel drilled a 1-0 pitch back up the middle that hit second base. The ball shot into right center and allowed both Ben Zobrist (0-for-2 with two walks and a run scored) and Jorge Soler to score.
On the mound, Hammel completed seven innings and allowed two runs on one hit with two walks and six strikeouts. Hammel made 96 pitches, 62 for strikes.
Pedro Strop had a bad day and let the Diamondbacks make it a 4-3 game in the eighth. Strop served up a solo homer to Yasmany Tomas before giving up back-to-back two-out singles. Joe Maddon had to use Trevor Cahill to pitch around Paul Goldschmidt. With the Cubs leading by a single run and the bases loaded in the eighth, Rickie Weeks lined a 3-2 pitch from Travis Wood to Ben Zobrist to end the inning.
Hector Rondon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 10th save.
Dexter Fowler (2-for-4 with a home run) cut into the D-Backs early lead with a booming homer to left in the bottom of the first. Fowler’s third leadoff homer of the season and 17th of his career made it a 2-1 game after one inning.
Anthony Rizzo stepped to the dish with one out in the fourth and the Cubs trailing 2-1. Rizzo popped Edwin Escobar’s first pitch straight up. The wind caught the ball and played havoc with the Diamondbacks’ fielders. The ball fell in between three D-Backs and Rizzo reached with a single. Ben Zobrist walked.
Jorge Soler smoked a 2-0 pitch into the alley in left center. Soler’s rocket hit and skipped into the ivy. The ball disappeared as Rizzo scored and tied the game at two. Zobrist returned to third on Soler’s ground rule double. Chip Hale brought his infield in with runners on second and third with one out. Addison Russell struck out swinging (2-2 pitch). Hale took the bat out of Ross’ hands and intentionally walked David Ross to load the bases.
Jason Hammel drove a 1-0 pitch back up the middle. The ball was ticketed for center, but it hit the second base bag and bounced into right center. Zobrist and Soler scored, 4-2 Cubs, on a single from Hammel. Ross stopped at third and Chip Hale made the slow walk. Randal Delgado replaced Escobar and struck out Dexter Fowler swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs led 4-2 after four innings.
Jason Hammel retired the last 13 batters he faced. The Cubs did not add on against the D-Backs’ pen. And the game went to the eighth with the Cubs leading by two, 4-2.
Pedro Strop took over for Hammel. And Strop had a rough outing.
Yasmany Tomas pulled a hanging slider (1-0) from Strop out to left and over the wall. Tomas cut the Cubs lead to 4-3. Nick Ahmed smoked a grounder to second for the first out. It was obvious Strop was not fooling anyone. Strop struck out Michael Bourn. Jean Segura singled to center and Brandon Drury singled to left. The back-to-back two-out knocks off Strop was enough for Maddon. Trevor Cahill took over with two on, two down and the Cubs leading by one run … and Paul Goldschmidt due up.
In what was a confusing move, Cahill pitched around Goldschmidt and walked him on four pitches. The Diamondbacks loaded the bases with two outs and Jake Lamb stepping to the plate. Maddon made the slow walk again and brought in Travis Wood to face Lamb. Hale countered and replaced the lefty Lamb with right-hander Rickie Weeks.
Wood jumped ahead of Weeks 0-2. Weeks put together a good at bat and worked a full count. Wood challenged him and he squared up a two-seam fastball … that Ben Zobrist was positioned perfectly up the middle to snare the liner to end the inning.
Travis Wood got out of the jam. And Anthony Rizzo gave his team a little breathing room in the home half.
Anthony Rizzo launched a 2-2 pitch from Daniel Hudson to the bleachers in right center … and the Cubs took a 5-3 lead.
Ben Zobrist walked and Javier Baez reached on an error by Nick Ahmed at short. The Cubs could not take advantage of the D-Backs horrible defense again. Addison Russell struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) and David Ross was caught looking at a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
The game went to the ninth with the Cubs leading by two, 5-3.
Hector Rondon gave up hard contact but retired all three batters he faced on eight pitches, five for strikes, to end the game.
With Saturday’s win, the Cubs improved to 39-15 on the season.
Jake Arrieta is scheduled to face lefty Patrick Corbin in the series and season-series finale with the Diamondbacks on Sunday afternoon (1:20pm CDT).