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Happ hits go-ahead single in 10th, Cubs move closer to NL Central lead with win over Pirates

Chicago Cubs Ian Happ Ian Happ - The Canadian Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ian Happ hit a go-ahead single in the 10th inning, lifting the Chicago Cubs to a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday night.

Nico Hoerner grounded to short to move automatic runner Mike Tauchman to third before Dansby Swanson walked and took second on a wild pitch. Happ then dropped a single into right off Thomas Hatch (1-1), driving in Tauchman with Swanson scoring when right fielder Connor Joe bobbled the ball.

Chicago, at 67-60, has won five of six to move three games back of the first-place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.

Daniel Palencia (4-0) walked Jack Suwinski to start the ninth. Alfonso Rivas’ bunt was caught by catcher Yan Gomes before Andrew McCutchen grounded into a force out at second. Ji Hwan Bae then walked before Ke'Bryan Hayes flew out to deep center to strand two.

Adbert Alzolay allowed Hayes to score on a sacrifice from Connor Joe, but did not give up a hit in the 10th for his 20th save.

Rob Zastryzny allowed one run, coming on a single Cody Bellinger lined to left with two outs, on two hits in the first inning after being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis.

The Cubs tacked on two more runs off Andre Jackson in the second. Seiya Suzuki scored on Jeimer Candelario’s sacrifice fly and Hoerner made it 3-0 with an RBI single to right.

Bae cut the deficit to 3-1 on an RBI single to right in the second. Joshua Palacios tied it with a two-run homer in the third, sending a fastball from Justin Steele 420 feet into the Allegheny River beyond the wall in right.

Steele gave up three runs on six hits with six strikeouts in six innings, his 17th quality start out of 24 this season.


Cubs: RHP Keegan Thompson was recalled from Triple-A Iowa with RHP Michael Rucker optioned to Iowa.

Pirates: SS Oneil Cruz said he has not ruled out returning this season. On Wednesday, director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said Cruz was longer running due to left foot general soreness and his rehab from a fractured left fibula had “plateaued.” … LHP Angel Perdomo (left elbow discomfort) was transferred to the 60-day injured list. … RHP Yohan Ramirez was optioned to Indianapolis, making room for Zastryzny on the 26-man roster.


RHP Kyle Hendricks (5-6, 3.83) was set to start for the Cubs on Friday against RHP Mitch Keller (10-8, 4.22).