For the first time since rattling off five straight wins against the Padres and Cardinals from June 8-13, the Cubs have a winning streak of at least four games.
Three-hit games from Michael Hermosillo, Ian Happ and Frank Schwindel — his included a go-ahead home run in the sixth inning — helped secure a 6-5 win over the Pirates on Friday.
“Those guys are really hungry, they show up early to work every single day,” said interim manager Andy Green, who was ejected in the sixth inning after trying to get the umpires to review a slide by Kevin Newman at second base on a potential double play. Oddly, Green didn’t know who managed the team in his place, guessing it was pitching coach Tommy Hottovy. (He was right.)
Hermosillo hit his first homer at Wrigley Field and was a triple shy of the cycle.
“He’s had some big hits for us since he’s been here, but he strung a number of really good at-bats together today,” Green said.
Alec Mills cruised through four innings, giving up three hits while striking out four, but things got bumpy in the fifth. Anthony Alford and Hoy Park hit back-to-back home runs before Mills got through the inning.
A pair of errors in the sixth cut the Cubs’ lead to 5-3. Colin Moran reached on a fielding error by Patrick Wisdom and scored later in the inning on a bad throw by Sergio Alcantara. Mills’ day was done after giving up a game-tying home run to Alford.
Cubs pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts and no walks, and the bullpen has a 0.42 ERA during the team’s winning streak. Trevor Megill, Codi Heuer, and Rowan Wick didn’t allow a hit in 3⅓ scoreless innings Friday.
“Those guys have been great,” Green said. “Hopefully this bullpen has come together for us [and] as we move forward, we’re going to look to guys like that to continue to emerge, and they’ll have stuff to prove. They’re pitching like that right now, and it’s fun to see.”
Happ stays hot
Happ singled twice and doubled, giving him multihit games in consecutive days. His homer was part of the five-run seventh.
“He’s really got it going right now,” Green said. “It feels like more early-count aggression, from my vantage point, like he’s getting in the box with the intent to swing, intent to do damage, intent to impact the baseball quickly.”
Entering Friday, Happ had a .352 average over his last 15 games. He has homered in four of his last eight.
“I think sometimes he’s got such a good eye and takes his walks so well, those types of hitters occasionally work themselves into seeing a ton of pitches and maybe not bringing their aggression to the dish, but he looks locked in,” Green said.
David Bote took batting practice and ran on the field before the game. Bote has been out since Aug. 27 with a sprained ankle.