Diamondbacks leapfrog Cubs in NL wild-card race following sweep
PHOENIX (AP) — Ketel Marte homered and Arizona got a great performance from its bullpen as the Diamondbacks defeated the skidding Chicago Cubs 6-2 on Sunday to pass them for the second National League wild-card spot.
Arizona completed a three-game sweep and handed the Cubs their fifth straight loss. The Diamondbacks won three of four last weekend at Wrigley Field and finished 6-1 against Chicago this season.
The latest victory moved Arizona a half-game ahead of Chicago for the second NL wild card, while the Cubs fell into a tie with Miami for the league's final playoff berth. Cincinnati is a half-game behind, and San Francisco is two back.
Four relievers combined to pitch 5 2/3 scoreless innings for Arizona, giving up three hits and no walks. That came after the Diamondbacks won a 13-inning game Saturday that took 4 hours, 24 minutes.
“You’re always curious about how your team is going to respond,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “Our guys were ready and I couldn’t be more proud of the statement they made.”
The immediate response was a three-run first inning against Cubs rookie left-hander Jordan Wicks (3-1). Arizona loaded the bases with no outs, and Christian Walker blooped one into center for an RBI, though he lost the hit when Corbin Carroll was forced at third base on a throw from center fielder Mike Tauchman.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. followed with an RBI double, and Emmanuel Rivera added a sacrifice fly.
Marte's two-run homer off José Cuas in the sixth made it 5-2, and the Diamondbacks added a run on Jace Peterson's RBI double in the seventh.
“I was sitting on the two-seamer but he hung a changeup and I put my best swing on it,” Marte said.
Luis Frías (1-0) got five outs for his second major league win.
Chicago scored in the second on Tauchman’s RBI single. After loading the bases with nobody out in the third, the Cubs settled for one run on Cody Bellinger’s double-play grounder.
“It’s been frustrating," Bellinger said. “The past week there’s been a lot of unfortunate bounces. We’re still in a good spot.”
Asked if the team was pressing, he said, "Trying to be the guy makes it harder — it’s already hard enough.”
Lovullo, who pulled starter Zach Davies in the fifth inning Saturday, had an even quicker hook Sunday for Ryne Nelson. He went 3 1/3 innings, giving up two runs, four hits and three walks.
Wicks, making his fifth major league start, lasted 4 1/3 innings for the Cubs. He allowed four hits and three runs, walked three and struck out three.
Chicago matched its longest losing streak of the season and has averaged 3.3 runs over the past 10 games.
“We weren’t very good,” manager David Ross said of the sweep. “They were better than we were in all aspects of the game. Just got beat all the way around.
“We had a lot of traffic and the at-bats were not bad, we just get into those moments and take the pressure off the pitcher pretty quickly.”
The Diamondbacks made their first appearance on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” since May 13, 2018, at home against Washington.
Cubs: 3B Nick Madrigal (hamstring tightness) was out of the lineup. Ross said the infielder would be evaluated after Monday’s off day.
Diamondbacks: RHP Scott McGough was placed on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation. Arizona recalled RHP Bryce Jarvis from Triple-A Reno and he closed out the game with two hitless innings. ... Lovullo said RHP Drey Jameson (elbow) will have Tommy John surgery, after attempting to rehab his injury. Jameson, who was 3-1 with a 3.32 ERA in 40 2/3 innings this season, last pitched on July 6.
Cubs: Return home to play Pittsburgh on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series. Chicago had not announced a scheduled starter.
Diamondbacks: Host the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday in the first of two games. Zac Gallen (15-8, 3.50 ERA) will start for Arizona.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB
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