PHOENIX (AP) — Chris Rusin has been the Chicago Cubs’ go-to pitcher after they make a major trade.
For the second time this season, Rusin was called up from the minors after the Cubs dealt a pitcher, and helped lead the Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night.
This time, Rusin replaced Matt Garza, who was traded to the Texas Rangers earlier Monday. When Scott Feldman was dealt to Baltimore earlier this month, Rusin stepped in, but did not receive a decision in an eventual 8-7 loss to Oakland.
With the trade of Garza, Rusin (1-0) again received the call to start and held the Diamondbacks scoreless until the sixth inning to pick up his first win of the season.
“You just have to step up when they call you and be ready anytime,” Rusin said. “I was ready for the opportunity and I was able to throw strikes and help our team win.”
Effective from the start, Rusin, who was 8-7 at Triple A Iowa, retired the first seven hitters in order. With one out in the third, Didi Gregorius slapped a single to right but was stranded when Tyler Skaggs struck out and A.J. Pollock fouled out to the catcher.
Through the first five innings, Rusin allowed two baserunners.
“I wasn’t really pleased with my fastball command, but I guess I was effectively wild,” Rusin said. “The things that got me through the five innings were getting my second pitch for strikes. I was able to throw my offspeed for strikes, which got me back into counts and be able to get weak contact and got me through the five innings.”
Rusin walked Cody Ross with one out in the fifth, but Ross was doubled up when right fielder Cole Gillespie grabbed Gerardo Parra’s sinking liner and fired to first baseman Anthony Rizzo for the double play.
Rusin pitched into the sixth and left with runners on first and second and no outs.
In that inning, the Diamondbacks managed to score both runners. First, Martin Prado’s sacrifice fly scored Gregorius, and Paul Goldschmidt drove in his 79th run of the season with an infield single.
The Diamondbacks had an opportunity to take the lead, but could not capitalize in the seventh as pinch-hitter Eric Chavez flied to center field with the bases loaded and two outs.
In the eighth and with the tying run at third with two outs, Miguel Montero struck out to end that threat.
“We’ll get over this,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. “Right now, things are not going out way, but the guys are hustling.”
Arizona’s offense has struggled during its last five games, scoring just nine runs in that span. In the loss Monday night, the Diamondbacks managed six hits against six Chicago pitchers. They are hitting .194 in their last 10 games, and just .143 with runners in scoring position over their last seven games.
“Everyone is trying their best, but in this game, you fail more than you succeed,” said Gregorius, who was 3 for 3 with a walk and run scored. “Look, we’ll come back tomorrow and find a way to get it done.”
Earlier, plate umpire Doug Eddings made sure things did not get out of control. With a history of Arizona suspensions this season for hit batters, Eddings directly addressed the issue in the Cubs’ half of the fourth inning. With two outs, Skaggs hit Navarro on the right knee with a pitch. Immediately after Navarro was hit, Eddings pointed to Skaggs and then pointed to both the Diamondbacks and Cubs dugouts. While Navarro was examined by Cubs trainer P.J. Mainville, Eddings went to mound and spoke directly with Skaggs.
NOTES: To make room on the roster for Skaggs, the Diamondbacks sent lefty Eury De La Rosa to Triple-A Reno. … Rusin’s previous appearance against the D-backs was a 7-2 win at Arizona last Sept. 30. … Lake went 4 for 5, and is 9 for 17 since being recalled from Triple-A Iowa last Friday.
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