Hammel pitches, hits Cubs to fourth straight victory


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<span style=Photo by Joe Camporeale / USATODAY">
Photo by Joe Camporeale / USATODAY

CHICAGO -- Jason Hammel gave up one hit and drove in the go-ahead runs in Chicago's 5-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at rainy Wrigley Field on Saturday afternoon. The win was the fourth in the row for the Chicago (39-15) and put the Cubs a season high 24-games over .500.

Hammel (7-1, 2.14) pitched seven innings and retired the last 13 batters he faced while giving up just one hit. That one hit, however, was a two-run homer in the first by Jake Lamb that gave the Diamondbacks a 2-0 lead. The Cubs would cut the lead in half when Dexter Fowler led off the bottom of the inning with his seventh home run of the season.

In the fourth, the Cubs tied the game with an RBI double by Jorge Soler. Then after an 2-out intentional walk to David Ross to get to Hammel, he lined a pitch up the middle that hit second base and bought home two runs. Hammel now has a career-high seven RBI this season, which is most among Cubs pitchers and is second-most in the majors behind Adam Wainwright’s eight RBI.

The Diamondbacks threaten to take the lead after Yasmany Tomas hit a solo home run in the eight inning and then the Arizona loaded the bases. However, Travis Wood got pinch-hitter Tony Weeks Jr on a 3-2 count to line out to second to the rally.

Chicago added some insurance in the bottom of the eight with Anthony Rizzo's solo home run. It was Rizzo's 13th home run of the season.

Cubs starting pitchers have allowed just 36 hits and 12 runs in their last 11 starts at Wrigley Field. Hammel's performance was impressive after he left his last start after 2.0-scoreless innings because of cramping in his right hamstring.

Rondon pitched a perfect ninth for 10th save and is 10-for-10 on save opportunities this season. He only needed just eight pitches to secure the Cubs win.

The Cubs will go for the 3-game sweep on Sunday with ace Jake Arrieta (9-0, 1.56) facing Patrick Corbin (2-5, 4.96) at 1:20 p.m. CT. It will be the final meeting of the season between the two clubs with Chicago winning 5 of 6 so far.

NOTES:

* At 39-15, the Cubs are off to their second-best start since 1900 (42-12, 1907) and the best start in baseball since the 2001 Mariners went 42-12 … the Cubs improved to 8-1 on the current homestand and have won 10 of their last 11 games … Chicago improved to 5-1 this season against Arizona, marking just the third time they have won at least five games in a season against the D-backs (also, 7-5 in 1998 and 6-1 in 2010).
* The Cubs improved to 31-1 this season when scoring five or more runs … the Cubs are the only team in baseball with an above .500 record when allowing the opponent to score first (15-12) … the Cubs allowed two or more runs in the first inning for only the fourth time this season.
* Jorge Soler (1-for-3, 2B, R, RBI) hit an RBI ground-rule double in the fourth inning … had gone 10-straight games without a double … he is batting .308 (12-for-39) with three doubles, three homers and seven RBI in his last 15 games.
* Ben Zobrist (0-for-2, R, 2 BB) has walked twice in consecutive games for the first time since June 21-22, 2014.

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