Ian Happ hits go-ahead single in 10th, Cubs move closer to NL Central lead with 5-4 win over Pirates

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ian Happ hit a go-ahead single in the 10th inning, lifting the Chicago Cubs to a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday night.

Nico Hoerner grounded to short to move automatic runner Mike Tauchman to third before Dansby Swanson walked and took second on a wild pitch. Happ then dropped a single into right off Thomas Hatch (1-1), driving in Tauchman with Swanson scoring when right fielder Connor Joe bobbled the ball.

“Once I saw the ball land, that’s when I kind of took off,” Swanson said. “No. 1 rule of baserunning is you run with your eyes up and keep your eyes on the ball. I feel like I saw it kick away from (Joe). Saw it kick away and just kept going. Big moment for us.”

Chicago, at 67-60, has won five of six to move three games back of the first-place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.

Daniel Palencia (4-0) walked Jack Suwinski to start the ninth. Alfonso Rivas’ bunt was caught by catcher Yan Gomes before Andrew McCutchen grounded into a force out at second. Ji Hwan Bae then walked before Ke’Bryan Hayes flew out to deep center to strand two.

Adbert Alzolay allowed Hayes to score on a sacrifice fly from Joe, but did not give up a hit in the 10th for his 20th save.

“Phenomenal character win,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “Good job by the bullpen. … Adbert locking it down. I thought Palencia threw a nice inning. So again, good team win.”

Rob Zastryzny allowed one run, coming on a single Cody Bellinger lined to left with two outs, on two hits in the first inning after being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis.

The Cubs tacked on two more runs off Andre Jackson in the second. Seiya Suzuki scored on Jeimer Candelario’s sacrifice fly and Hoerner made it 3-0 with an RBI single to right.

Jackson went six innings, allowing just those two runs.

“He was really good,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “He was in control. Mixed and matched. The changeup was good. Just, overall, a really effective outing.”

Bae cut the deficit to 3-1 on an RBI single to right in the second. Joshua Palacios tied it with a two-run homer in the third, sending a fastball from Justin Steele 420 feet into the Allegheny River beyond the wall in right.

“Knew we got that one. Felt pretty good there,” Palacios said. “Had a plan and we executed. I was happy about that. … Would have been better if we got the win as well, but good swing.”

Steele gave up three runs on six hits with six strikeouts in six innings, his 17th quality start out of 24 this season.

“It was a great team win,” Steele said. “Just wanted to make sure I was doing my part, keeping the team in the ballgame. Didn’t feel like I had my sharpest stuff tonight, but when your stuff is kind of like that, you just want to go out there and give the team a good chance to win the ballgame.”


Cubs: RHP Keegan Thompson was recalled from Triple-A Iowa with RHP Michael Rucker optioned to Iowa.

Pirates: SS Oneil Cruz said he has not ruled out returning this season. On Wednesday, director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said Cruz was longer running due to left foot general soreness and his rehab from a fractured left fibula had “plateaued.” … LHP Angel Perdomo (left elbow discomfort) was transferred to the 60-day injured list. … RHP Yohan Ramirez was optioned to Indianapolis, making room for Zastryzny on the 26-man roster.


RHP Kyle Hendricks (5-6, 3.83) was set to start for the Cubs on Friday against RHP Mitch Keller (10-8, 4.22).


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