Justin Steele returned from a forearm injury to allow two runs through five solid innings, Nico Hoerner delivered a two-run double and Mike Tauchman’s tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the fifth held up, as the Chicago Cubs won their season-high fifth straight, 3-2 over the visiting Baltimore Orioles on Saturday
Among MLB’s biggest surprises, Steele (7-2) pitched for the first time since May 31 against Tampa Bay, when he exited after three innings due to a left forearm strain. On Saturday, the left-hander yielded only Adley Rutschman’s 10th homer, with a man on, in the fifth, plus four other hits and a walk, while striking out four, through 74 pitches.
Julian Merryweather, Mark Leiter Jr. and Adbert Alzolay (fourth save) followed for four strong innings of relief, allowing a combined two hits and striking out five as the surging Cubs improved to 7-1 since losing four in a row
Baltimore, meanwhile, has totaled five runs through the first two of this set, and stranded nine runners while going 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position on Saturday. Kyle Gibson (8-4) allowed all three Cubs‘ runs, along with three hits and two walks, while striking out seven in six innings
Gibson retired the first seven Chicago batters, and recorded his fifth strikeout on eighth-place hitter Yan Gomes in the third, but Baltimore catcher James McCann couldn’t corral the ball for what turned out to be a dropped-third strike. Miles Mastrobuoni then reached on a fielder’s choice and moved to second on Tauchman’s walk. Both scored on Hoerner’s double, and first of his two hits, into the left-field gap for a 2-0 Cubs lead
Meanwhile, it appeared Steele’s day would end without allowing a run as he got the first two outs of the fifth. Then Austin Hays (two hits) singled and Rutschman went deep into the left-center field bleachers on two strikes to tie the contest.
However, Chicago regained the lead in the bottom of the frame. Gomes doubled off Gibson, then went to third on Mastrobuoni’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Tauchman’s fly ball to left.
–Field Level Media
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