CHICAGO (AP) — Whether he is dazzling with his glove and arm, juking opponents on the base paths or coming up with the big hit, Javier Baez simply finds ways to deliver.
This time, he did it at the plate.
Baez and Jason Heyward each hit three-run homers in the sixth inning and the Chicago Cubs overcame a wild start by Cole Hamels to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-6 Wednesday night.
The Cubs did all their scoring with two outs, rallying from a three-run deficit and then hanging on to win for the seventh time in eight games.
Baez had a memorable infield single Tuesday when he juked inside to dodge first baseman David Freese’s tag. And on Wednesday, he kicked the comeback into high gear with a long, tying drive to left that chased Walker Buehler. He watched for a few seconds as his second homer in as many games sailed well beyond the wall and gave a wave with his right hand before breaking into his trot.
“You can’t read about Javy,” Heyward said. “You can’t read about him. You’ve got to watch him. You’ve got to watch what he’s doing. You’ve got to watch how he’s thinking on the field.”
Pinch-hitter David Bote followed with a double to deep center against Scott Alexander (1-1). Willson Contreras was intentionally walked and Heyward lined a 2-2 pitch the opposite way to the basket in left-center , making it 6-3.
Anthony Rizzo added an RBI double in the seventh. And the Cubs hung on after the Dodgers’ Alex Verdugo cut it to 7-6 with a three-run homer against Steve Cishek in the eighth.
Hamels matched his highest walk total in three seasons with six over 5 2/3 innings after issuing none in winning his previous three starts. The four-time All-Star gave up three hits and exited trailing 3-0 after Cody Bellinger hit a two-run homer.
Hamels acknowledged he had difficulty commanding his curve and cutter. And with the patient Dodgers taking pitches and fouling off others, doing what they could to extend at-bats, it added up to a difficult outing.
“This is a guy that doesn’t walk guys,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He attacks the strike zone and I think that for Cole it was a grind. I don’t think that he really had the feel for his locations.”
Brad Brach (2-0) got the final two outs in the sixth. Pedro Strop walked pinch hitter Max Muncy leading off the ninth. But he struck out Enrique Hernandez and got Justin Turner to hit into a double play for his third save in four chances.
The Cubs moved two games above .500 for the first time this season. They’ll try to complete the three-game sweep against the NL West leaders Thursday, when ace Jon Lester returns from a strained left hamstring.
Buehler gave up three runs and four hits. And the Dodgers lost their second in a row after winning seven of eight.
Cubs shortstop Addison Russell singled and scored two runs for Triple-A Iowa against Nashville in his first game as he prepares to return from a 40-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy.
Russell was suspended last fall after a series of allegations made by his ex-wife. While declining to get into any specifics, Russell said in February he was accountable for his past actions and apologized for “the hurt and the pain” he caused.
Barring any postponements, Russell would be eligible to return to Chicago for its series opener against St. Louis on May 3 at Wrigley Field.
Heyward’s homer was his first off a lefty since a game-ending grand slam against Philadelphia’s Adam Morgan last June 6.
Bote rejoined the team after rushing to be with his wife in Colorado for the birth of their third child.
Bote had to hurry to be with her after hitting a tiebreaking single in the ninth in a 2-1 win over Arizona on Sunday.
The Cubs optioned right-hander Alec Mills to Triple-A Iowa following Tuesday’s game.
Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (strained left knee) rejoined the team Wednesday after pitching six dominant innings during an extended spring training game in Arizona two days earlier. He struck out 16 and allowed just one hit on Monday. The 39-year-old is expected to make his season debut Sunday against Pittsburgh.
Dodgers: RHP Ross Stripling (1-1, 3.07) could be making his last start for a while with Hill close to rejoining the rotation.
Cubs: LHP Lester (1-0, 2.57) makes his first start since April 8, when he strained his hamstring running the bases in the home opener against Pittsburgh.
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