Home Sports Chicago Cubs waste Justin Steele’s strong start in a 7-6, 10-inning loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks

Chicago Cubs waste Justin Steele’s strong start in a 7-6, 10-inning loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks

by staff

Rowan Wick zipped a couple of fastballs past Daulton Varsho before he settled in to a high-pressure at-bat Saturday with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs knotted at 4 in the top of the 10th inning at Wrigley Field.

“All I told myself was, ‘Can’t get beat again,’ ” Varsho said.

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He didn’t.

Varsho drilled a two-out, three-run double off Wick, then scored on Andrelton Simmons’ throwing error to lift the Diamondbacks to a 7-6 comeback win, handing the Cubs their fourth loss in a row.

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“I just knew I had an opportunity (on the throw) to get to third and still give us a chance to score another run there,” Varsho said. “When it got by (Yan Gomes) and hit the brick (behind home plate), I was like I’m just going to keep going. It’s kind of a pinball machine back there with all the bricks.”

The Diamondbacks had only one hit off Cubs starter Justin Steele but came to life against the bullpen, riding a three-run eighth inning into extras after falling behind 4-0 through three.

“Our guys didn’t shut down,” Diamondbacks manager Terry Lovullo said. “They had every right to. It’s a team that has a great heartbeat. I’ve been talking about that this whole road trip, it’s a common denominator for us.”

Relievers Joe Mantiply, J.B. Wendelken and Ian Kennedy combined for a pair of scoreless innings before Mark Melancon pitched the 10th for his ninth save.

The Cubs scored twice in the 10th as Simmons singled to shortstop to score Christopher Morel. Simmons moved into scoring position by stealing second with Ian Happ representing the tying run at the plate.

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Melancon fanned Happ before Jonathan Villar doubled to score Simmons, then Seiya Suzuki struck out to end it.

Alek Thomas brought the Diamondbacks to life in the seventh with a two-out single to center to score Jake McCarthy. Then Pavin Smith led of the eight with the first pinch-hit homer of his career to cut the deficit to two. That snapped Cubs reliever Scott Effross’ streak of 14 appearances without allowing an earned run.

“That was an electric moment for us,” Varsho said. “Gained some confidence back and just good for our whole lineup.”

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McCarthy then doubled off David Robertson with two outs, scoring Ketel Marte to close the gap before Varsho’s single to center brought McCarthy home to tie it at four.

Steele threw five scoreless innings and fanned nine, coming up one strikeout short of matching his career-high. He allowed one hit and walked two.

Frank Schwindel and Patrick Wisdom hit back-to-back home runs in the second to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Willson Contreras singled and stole second, then left the game in the third inning with right hamstring tightness.

Suzuki then doubled to left, scoring pinch runner Rafael Ortega. Gomes followed with a single to center to score Suzuki and stretch the lead to 4-0.

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