CHICAGO (AP) – A day after striking out four times, rookie Ian Happ struck back.
Happ hit his 18th home run, Jose Quintana pitched six effective innings and the Chicago Cubs beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 Saturday to keep up their success against AL opponents.
The World Series champions have won nine of their last 10 interleague games. The NL Central leaders have won five of seven overall.
Happ hit an RBI single in the first inning and added a solo homer in the fourth. In the sixth, Happ drew a leadoff walk from Danny Barnes (2-4) and later scored on a two-out single by Javier Baez for the go-ahead run.
“The game ebbs and flows all the time. That’s why it is a beautiful game and a terrible game at the same time. You are going to have your good weeks, your bad weeks, good days and your bad days, being able to stay even and keep fighting through it is important,” Happ said.
Baez also made a highlight-reel defensive play in the ninth when he fielded Ryan Goins’ grounder deep in the hole at shortstop after it deflected off Kris Bryant’s glove. Baez made a strong throw to first to get Goins for the second out in the ninth.
“I don’t think we played bad. It’s been the Baez show the past couple days. We’ve seen plenty of that on TV. We battled, we hung in there, but this ballpark you’ve got to hit a home run. I thought we pitched very well. Just wasn’t good enough,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
In his seventh start since being acquired in a trade from the White Sox, Quintana (4-2) gave up two runs and four hits. He struck out eight and walked two.
“I thought Quintana was really good today also. It just seemed to me like better command. The last game he had a lot of fastball misses in. He was getting that pitch here today for a strike, curveball was definitely more pertinent today. I didn’t see a lot of changeups. But I saw him pitch with his fastball well and accurately and did a great job,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
Cubs closer Wade Davis pitched a perfect ninth for his 26th save in as many chances. He tied the franchise record for consecutive saves converted.
Anthony Rizzo added an insurance run in the seventh with a two-out RBI single.
The Blue Jays cut the lead in the eighth with the help of Bryant’s throwing error. Bryant fielded Steve Pearce’s grounder at third, but threw wildly to first allowing Pearce to advance to second. Kevin Pillar followed with an RBI single to cut the Chicago lead to 4-3.
In the fourth, Toronto got three straight hits off Quintana. Pillar led off with a single and former Cub Darwin Barney doubled down the left-field line. Raffy Lopez followed with a two-run bloop single to left-center to put the Blue Jays ahead 2-1.
Happ tied it with his opposite-field homer to left off Nick Tepesch.
Quintana got out of a bases loaded jam in the second inning when he struck out Tepesch.
IMPRESSED BUT NOT INTIMIDATED
Heading into Saturday’s game against Detroit, the Dodgers are 51-9 in its last 60 games. “It’s incredibly great what they have done. Give them credit for it. But am I intimidated by that? No. I would so look forward to playing them in the playoffs. That would be awesome if we got back into that situation. The roll they are on right now is historical,” Maddon said.
The Blue Jays optioned LHP Tim Mayza to Triple-A Buffalo and recalled LHP T.J. House to get a fresh arm in their overworked bullpen. Gibbons said Mayza will be back “very quickly.”
DONALDSON AT SHORT?
Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson made a late-game switch to shortstop for the second straight day. Donaldson’s only other major league experience at the position was one inning for the Oakland A’s in 2013.
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (finger) played catch for the first time in a while. He has pitched just 36 innings this season due to blister issues. Gibbons said he hopes to use the starting pitcher out of the bullpen when he returns. … C Russell Martin (oblique) is rehabbing in Florida. Gibbons said Martin will not be ready when he is eligible to come off the 10-day DL early next week.
The interleague series caps off on Sunday with Toronto RHP Marco Estrada (5-8) facing Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks (4-4) as the Cubs try to sweep the Jays. Estrada is 2-5 with 5.33 ERA in 14 starts on the road this season. Hendricks is 3-3 with a 2.85 ERA in his last 13 starts.