Cubs win three straight behind Busch's historic streak, Hoerner's hustle
Joe Camporeale - USA Today Sports

Cubs win three straight behind Busch's historic streak, Hoerner's hustle

by - Senior Writer -

PHOENIX - Chase Field has been a house of horrors for the Chicago Cubs (10-6) lately, and that was evident last season. After going 1-6 against the Arizona Diamondbacks (8-9) last season, including 0-4 at Chase Field, the Cubs found themselves on the outside looking in come the playoffs as they missed the postseason by one game.

The team in front of them happened to be the Diamondbacks, who went on to the World Series before falling to Texas. It was a painful pill to swallow, to say the least, but the Cubs wanted to take how last season ended and use it to their advantage this season. However, for this team to reach the level they need to be, it is all about survival mode, as the hits keep coming.

Not only have they been without Justin Steele and Jameson Taillon most of the season, but one of their best relievers, Julian Merryweather, went down two weeks ago, throwing their bullpen into chaos. Now, add Seiya Suzuki to the list of injured players, and the Cubs' gauntlet of an early-season schedule will only get harder as they continue to lose players and have been in battle mode for a while.

Looking to close out their West Coast trip with another winning series, hard-throwing Ben Brown took the ball for the Cubs on Monday. He squared off against Merrill Kelly and the Diamondbacks. Brown is still looking for his first win, but he was as good as ever as he gave the Cubs six great innings, allowing just one run, striking out four, and allowing one hit.

Usually, that would be good enough to grab a win, but with Kelly equally as good and allowing just one run through five innings with five strikeouts, runs were at a premium most of the night. With the Cubs trailing 2-1 entering the ninth, Nico Hoerner did his best Javier Baez impression, scoring from second on a wild pitch to tie things up and help force extras. Then came the 11th inning when Hoerner got on top of a high fastball and ripped it the other way to plate the go-ahead run as the Cubs took down the Diamondbacks 3-2 in 11 innings.

These were the types of games that the Cubs were finding ways to lose last season, so it's huge to see them win some of these earlier in the season while missing several key players. Getting back to Brown for a bit, Brown was only in trouble once, and that came in the bottom of the second inning.

With Michael Busch homering for a Cubs record fifth straight game to put Chicago up 1-0 in the second, Arizona answered as Brown walked Christian Walker and Gabriel Moreno to put two men on and two outs.

A few pitches later, Jake McCarthy cashed in with an RBI single, and Arizona pulled even 1-1. That was the final baserunner Brown would allow the rest of his outing as he retired the final 13 hitters he faced to keep the Arizona offense in check.

Although not as strong as Brown, Kelly was equally as good when it came to limiting the damage. He allowed a baserunner in each of his final four innings, with the Busch homer as the only blemish on his line. However, it was the Cubs' offensive approach that did him in, as a higher-than-normal pitch count chased him in the fifth. However, he did extend his streak of 35 starts of at least five innings and allowing three or fewer runs.

In what was now a battle of the bullpens in the seventh, Miguel Castro found himself in a bit of trouble. Garrett Cooper led off the seventh with a single, and Hoerner followed that up with a walk. As was the case often in this one, the Cubs couldn't come away with the hit they needed, and things remained tied 1-1.

Following a great inning by Luke Little in what was his first appearance in a week, Drew Smyly took over in the eighth, as it was up to him to keep things tied.

This was when things started to look like they were getting away from the Cubs, as a one-out pinch-hit double from Randal Grichuk set the Diamondbacks up. After an intentional walk to Ketel Marte, Grichuk advanced to third on a wild pitch and was 90 feet from scoring.

90 feet or not, it wouldn't have mattered as the youngster Corbin Carroll cashed in with an RBI single to give the Diamondbacks their first and only lead of the day, 2-1. Down to their final three outs and down by a run, Hoerner got the rally started with a one-out single off of Kevin Ginkel. After enduring a rough night overall, Mike Tauchman had a little to smile about, delivering a ninth-inning single to move Hoerner up to second.

Ginkel was one out away from closing the door only to have a wild pitch move both runners up 90 feet. This was where the game changed in the Cubs favor as Hoerner never stopped running, beat Ginkel to home to score from second, brought the game back to even, and helped force extra innings.

With neither team finding a way to get a run across in the 10th, it was the Cubs who broke through first as the Busch walk, and Cooper single loaded the bases and had the Cubs on the verge of breaking things open. Hoerner kept the line moving with a sharply hit single the other way to put the Cubs in front 3-2 as the bases remained loaded.

Chicago was unable to add on and missed a golden opportunity to put Arizona away.

Hoping that didn't come back to bite them, Keegan Thompson was back on for his second inning after tossing a scoreless 10th. It wasn't always the prettiest, but Thompson did his job, striking out Walker to end the game and closing out the hard-fought 3-2 win.

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