Morel, Bellinger Swanson connect as Cubs power past Diamondbacks
CHICAGO (AP) — Christopher Morel, Cody Bellinger and Dansby Swanson each hit solo homers in the third inning, and the Chicago Cubs snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.
Swanson added two singles and Kyle Hendricks tossed 5 2/3 effective innings to help Chicago (77-67) strengthen its hold on the second NL wild card spot and close to within three of first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central.
Arizona’s four-game winning streak ended, but the Diamondbacks (75-69) remained in the third wild-card spot. Arizona held the Cubs to just four runs in winning the first three games of the series.
“I”m proud of how we came back today, bounced back," Bellinger said. “Overall, we had a lot of good swings. You know, for us try to pick it up a little bit, do our part and as an offense help the team win, we did a good job today.”
Morel hit his 21st homer, Bellinger his 25th and Swanson his 20th off rookie right-hander Brandon Pfaadt, who was originally scheduled to start the game.
Pfaadt, however, entered in the third as Arizona’s second reliever after manager Tory Lovullo turned to left-hander Joe Mantiply as an opener.
And the Cubs teed off on Pfaadt.
“Morel obviously getting us off to a good start, the home run from him," Chicago manager David Ross said. “Bellie’s homer, awesome, Dansby with a really nice day.”
Swanson finished with two RBIs and Seiya Suzuki doubled in a run for the Cubs. Morel also tripled.
Seby Zavala had two hits an RBI in his first game with the Diamondbacks. The catcher was claimed off waivers from the White Sox on Wednesday.
Hendricks (6-7) allowed two runs on seven hits, while striking out four. The right-hander exited after 82 pitches with two outs in the sixth after issuing his only walk.
Four relievers followed, with Julian Merryweather pitching the ninth for this first save.
Chicago took a 1-0 lead in the first, with Suzuki’s ground-rule double driving in Nico Hoerner. Morel led off with a triple, but was caught between third and home and tagged out following Hoerner’s comebacker.
Morel atoned with his homer, a shot to left off Pfaadt to start the third that made it 2-0.
Three hitters later, Bellinger launched a towering shot to right against a strong wind. Swanson cracked a 1-2 pitch deep into the left-center bleachers as the Cubs hit back-to-back homers for the ninth time this season.
Zavala’s RBI single in the fifth cut it to 4-1, but Swanson knocked in his second run of the game in the bottom half.
Alek Thomas cut it to 5-2 in the sixth with a sac fly.
Lovullo tweaked his pitching plans on Sunday, using the lefty Mantiply as an opener — and forcing Ross to alter his lineup.
Mantiply (1-2) faced the first six Cubs hitters and allowed a run on two hits before right-hander Scott McGough entered with one out in the second inning.
Pfaadt took over in the third and went the rest of the way, allowing four runs on seven in six innings.
But Chicago's three homers in the third off him made the difference.
“I thought he settled in really nicely, Lovullo said. ”It was what, 70-plus (78) pitches through six innings? So it was just the first inning. He made some mistakes and they took advantage of it."
Former Cubs 1B Mark Grace and SS Shawon Dunston were inducted into the team’s hall of fame on Sunday, culminating with a brief ceremony at home plate before the game.
Diamondbacks: 2B Ketel Marte (right knee contusion) didn’t start but was available off the bench. … Rookie SS Jordan Lawlar didn’t start after being struck on a right knuckle by a pitch on Saturday, but Lovullo said his “hand is fine.” … Lovullo added RHP Drey Jameson (strained UCL in right elbow) could return this season. Jameson went on the on IL on July 7.
Cubs: INF Jeimer Candelario left the game in the fifth with a stiff back. ...All-Star RHP Marcus Stroman is expected to throw a live batting practice session on Monday at the team’s training facility in Arizona.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zach Davies (2-5, 6.81) faces Mets LHP José Quintana (2-5, 3.00) at New York on Monday.
Cubs: LHP Jordan Wicks (3-0, 2.16) starts at Colorado on Monday night. Wicks has won his first three major-league starts after being called from the minors on Aug. 26. The Rockies had not yet named a starter.
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