CHICAGO (AP) — Javier Báez’s RBI single in the 10th inning lifted the Chicago Cubs to their fourth straight win, 3-2 over the Cleveland Indians, on Wednesday night in a game that was briefly delayed when a drone entered Wrigley Field and landed on the outfield grass.
Automatic runner Ian Happ advanced to third when Kris Bryant greeted Phil Maton (2-2) with a groundball single to open the 10th.
After Anthony Rizzo was walked intentionally, Maton fanned Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber. Then Báez’s liner to left scored Happ and sent the Indians to their eighth straight loss, their longest slide since June 2013.
Like many of the Cubs’ hitters, Báez has struggled in the pandemic-shortened season — he’s hitting just .211. But Chicago’s high-energy shortstop delivered.
“It gave me some more (confidence),” Báez said. “I saw the ball good today. I’ve been seeing the ball good.”
Manager David Ross usually likes what he sees in Báez, even when he’s not producing at his normal clip.
“He’s continued to compete every pitch,” Ross said. “Javy is always going to affect the game in a positive fashion and create a little chaos.”
The Cubs won their fourth straight and strengthened their grip on first place in the NL Central.
“We continue to do a lot of things well,” Ross said. “There’s still room for improvement. When you get these late wins, these walk-off wins, it feel real good and gives you some momentum.”
Oscar Mercado hit a solo shot off Jon Lester in the fifth to tie the game at 2.
Five Cubs relievers followed Lester with a scoreless inning each. Jason Adam (2-1) pitched the 10th.
The Indians remain in position for an AL wild card despite their second straight one-run, walk-off loss to the Cubs.
“That’s a tough one right there,” interim Cleveland manager Sandy Alomar Jr. said. “I mean, guys battled and the pitching did a good job. Unfortunately we didn’t hit very good with men in scoring position today.”
Aaron Civale allowed two runs on seven hits, leaving with runners at second and third and none out in the seventh. The right-hander hasn’t won since Aug. 19 and is 0-3 in his last five starts.
Lester yielded two runs on four hits in five innings in his second effective start following two rough ones.
The 36-year-old lefty settled in after struggling with his control in the first inning. Francisco Lindor, who walked to lead off the game, scored from third on a wild pitch.
The Cubs tied it in the second on Jason Heyward’s bloop single. Chicago moved ahead 2-1 in the fourth when Cameron Maybin’s infield single drove in Báez.
NO DRONE ZONE
Umpires hastily cleared the field when the small drone flew into the ballpark over the left-center bleachers as Contreras came to bat with with two outs in the bottom of the fifth.
After it landed, the blinking drone took off, hovered at about 100 feet, then pulled away and vanished into the night beyond the center-field scoreboard.
Following a 7-minute delay, Contreras resumed his at-bat and grounded out to Civale.
“Just another thing thrown at you,” Civale said. “But it happened. You’ve just got to push through those things.”
Báez said the Cubs didn’t take the the drone incursion lightly.
“I saw it and it just kept getting closer,” he said. “You never know what’s the deal with a drone. We just stayed away from it.”
OF Ian Happ, the Cubs’ union rep, said he supports isolating players in a playoff bubble starting with the division series. But he said rules “like asking permission to go for a walk” will be taxing. “It feels more like being a zoo animal than baseball player or human being,” Happ said.
Cubs: LHP Andrew Chafin (sprained left index finger) threw 20-plus pitches in a simulated game Wednesday and “looked really sharp,” Ross said. Chafin, acquired from Arizona at the trade deadline, has yet to pitch for the Cubs.
Indians: Gold Glove C Roberto Pérez didn’t play Wednesday so he could get treatment on a condition that’s been affecting his swing. Pérez, who previously missed three weeks with a right shoulder strain, is expected back Thursday at Detroit. Austin Hedges, acquired from San Diego at the deadline in a nine-player trade, was behind the plate against the Cubs. … 2B César Hernández (paternity list) rejoined the team. He pinch-hit in the eighth and remained in the game.
Indians: AL ERA leader Shane Bieber (7-1, 1.53) takes the mound at Detroit on Thursday and tries to rebound from his lone loss, to the Twins last Friday in Minnesota. Rookie RHP Casey Mize (0-1, 5.85) pitches for the Tigers.
Cubs: Following a day off Thursday, RHP Kyle Hendricks (5-4, 3.29) faces LHP Rich Hill (2-1. 3.81) in the opener of a three-game home set against Minnesota at Wrigley Field.
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