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New-look lineup shows what it can do as Cubs top Pirates 8-7 in 11 innings

Leadoff man Ian Happ’s game-winning single in the 11th inning leads the Cubs to an 8-7 victory over the Pirates. All nine starters for the Cubs reached base at least once.

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

The Cubs’ offense had a different look to it Tuesday.

The team made some upgrades at the trade deadline, adding Jose Martinez and Cameron Maybin to the roster, but it also got some in-house additions with Kris Bryant and Steven Souza Jr. returning after extended absences.

“I feel like anytime the front office makes deals, like we just did to address some things, that’s just a huge boost of confidence for us going forward,” said starter Jon Lester, who allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings.

The Cubs’ lineup looked deeper, more cohesive and, in the 8-7 victory in 11 innings against the Pirates, showed what kind of damage it might do down the stretch.

Manager David Ross was able to write the lineup card with everyone at his disposal, and besides the addition of Martinez, the biggest change was at the top. Bryant slid into the 2-hole, allowing the rest of the lineup to slot down, as well.

“I’m trying to find him spots to succeed,” Ross said. “The bench is so much deeper now, and you look around, you’ve got veteran presence.”

Bryant was the Cubs’ leadoff man before his 11-game absence. While he was sidelined, Ian Happ staked his claim for that spot. He has been the Cubs’ best hitter and a game-changer at the top of the lineup.

Happ continued to be the catalyst against the Pirates, sending the second pitch of the game 434 feet to right field for his 10th home run.

“Having Kris back really lengthens our lineup out,” Happ said.

The Cubs’ offense has been trying to find its way entering the second half of the season, and multiple-run innings have been hard to come by. But the fifth inning provided the Cubs with an opportunity to witness the benefits of the roster shake-up.

Bryant led off the inning with a single and scored on Javy Baez’s double two batters later. Kyle Schwarber capped the inning by crushing a two-run blast to give the Cubs a five-run lead. The Pirates would tie the score with five unanswered runs to force the game into extra innings. Happ would come through again with a a game-winning, RBI-single in the 11th inning to push the Cubs to 21-14 on the season.

“Being able just to kind of see [the lineup] on paper and then have it come together in the game,” said Happ, who finished the game 3-for-6 with a homer and 2 RBIs. A bunch of big hits, a bunch of really good at-bats and shoot for that one through nine that was out there today – that’s pretty strong.”

Ross has said for the last few weeks that the best was yet to come for his offense, and after showing flashes in Detroit and Cincinnati, the recent additions plus a healthy Bryant might be what the team needs heading into the final stretch.

“We’re starting to get some of those guys healthy, and picking up a guy like Jose Martinez is obviously nice,” Ross said Sunday. “We take it day to day. Hitting is so difficult. It’s really a daily process and a plan each day. I really thought things were looking good in Detroit, and you know they carried into [Cincinnati].”

The Cubs scored in the first, second, fourth and fifth innings before the game was delayed because of rain in the eighth. They’d score two more runs in extra innings, including a game-winning RBI-single from Happ in the 11th inning.

All nine starters for the Cubs reached base at least once.

“We’ll find spots for [the new additions] and continue to define roles and how they fit in,’’ Ross said.

‘‘I think it’s a really good job by the front office to help fill some of the holes that I felt we needed to fill.”