CHICAGO (AP) With every clutch swing and big play, the Chicago Cubs are making an argument to stay together through Tuesday’s trade deadline.
Christopher Morel drove in two runs during a six-run fifth inning that featured only three hits, and the streaking Cubs beat the crosstown White Sox 10-7 on Wednesday night.
Ian Happ and Cody Bellinger hit back-to-back homers in the eighth for the Cubs (50-51), who erased a five-run deficit on the way to their fifth straight win and seventh in eight games. They moved within 4 1/2 games of an NL wild card with the deadline looming next week.
“I think that it's an opportunity to just embrace the situation where you're playing meaningful baseball,” said Nico Hoerner, who had two hits and two RBIs. “And that's really what we all want, right? You have the opportunity to win, you have the opportunity to have a team that's pushing towards the end of the season.”
After Marcus Stroman struggled again, four Cubs relievers combined for 5 2/3 innings of one-hit ball. Javier Assad (1-2) got five outs for the win, and Adbert Alzolay worked the ninth for his 11th save.
“Bullpen did a phenomenal job,” manager David Ross said.
Eloy Jiménez had four RBIs and Jake Burger homered for the White Sox (41-62). They are 5-14 in July after dropping their fifth straight game.
The White Sox announced after the game that they had traded pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López to the Los Angeles Angels for two prospects. They could sell off more players to contenders in the coming days.
“Given this club's performance over the course of the last several months, it's apparent that these type of moves have to take place given where we're at,” general manager Rick Hahn said, “and putting us in the best position we can be going forward.”
Taking the mound amid trade rumors surrounding his future, White Sox right-hander Lance Lynn was charged with seven runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. He did not speak with the media after the loss.
“It just seemed that every time he left the ball out over the plate they made good contact,” manager Pedro Grifol said.
Jiménez and Burger helped the South Siders build a 7-2 lead, but that advantage evaporated in the fifth. The Cubs used three singles, three walks, two hit batsmen, one error and one wild pitch to move in front on a humid night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Happ hit an RBI single and Morel singled home two more runs. Seiya Suzuki scampered home when Joe Kelly (1-5) threw a wild pitch on a swinging strikeout for Miles Mastrobuoni. Consecutive two-out walks by Mike Tauchman and Hoerner forced home two more runs, giving the Cubs an 8-7 lead.
The rally handed a no-decision to Stroman, who allowed a season-high seven runs and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings. The All-Star right-hander is 1-3 with an 8.00 ERA in his last six starts.
“Not great. I mean not great at all,” Stroman said. “Just been kind of struggling a little bit, mechanically, timing, tempo, rhythm. Just very inconsistent right now on the mound.”
Stroman was hurt by a couple of defensive miscues. It looked as if the Cubs had picked off Andrew Benintendi ahead of Tim Anderson's RBI single in the second, but Bellinger inexplicably held onto the ball at first as Benintendi cruised into second. Tauchman also lost a fly ball to center that dropped in front of him for a hit.
White Sox: RHP Mike Clevinger (biceps inflammation) is expected to return this weekend, likely on Saturday against Cleveland. Grifol isn't ruling out a rehab start for the right-hander, but he doesn't think it's necessary. Clevinger pitched a simulated game Monday. “He threw the ball really good and looked really good,” Grifol said.
Cubs: LHP Justin Steele (10-3, 2.95 ERA) takes the mound Thursday night for the opener of a four-game series at St. Louis. RHP Miles Mikolas (6-5, 4.33 ERA) goes for the Cardinals.
White Sox: RHP Dylan Cease (4-3, 4.04 ERA) starts Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series against Cleveland. RHP Tanner Bibee (6-2, 3.04 ERA) goes for the visiting Guardians.
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