CHICAGO — Chicago Cubs starter Yu Darvish didn’t enhance his chances of winning the National League Cy Young Award on Tuesday, and Jeremy Jeffress allowed his first home run of the season at the most inopportune time.
But the top of the Cubs’ order generated some long-awaited production, which culminated when pinch-hitter Cameron Maybin was hit by a pitch from Nick Wittgren with one out in the ninth inning to give them a 6-5 win over the Indians.
The victory cut the magic number for the Cubs (29-20) to clinch the division title to 10.
Kris Bryant started the rally with a walk and moved to third on a single by Anthony Rizzo. Wittgren hit Willson Contreras with a pitch before plunking Maybin.
Jeffress, who entered the game with an 0.98 ERA in 17 appearances, walked Josh Naylor to start the ninth and Francisco Lindor followed later with a two-run, game-tying home run to left field.
Darvish allowed a season-high nine hits but was unscored upon in his final four innings. Darvish (8-2) threw 77 of 100 pitches for strikes, but he wasn’t as dominant as he has been most of the season as his ERA swelled from 1.77 to 2.00.
Darvish allowed a season-high nine hits — including a combined six by Tyler Naquin and Delino DeShields. But Darvish worked out of trouble after his teammates rallied to tie the game.
Naquin hit a double with two out in the sixth, but Darvish struck out Roberto Perez on a cut fastball to end the threat.
Deshields hit a double with one out in the seventh, prompting pitching coach Tommy Hottovy to visit the mound.
The Cubs selected to intentionally walk Lindor, who hit an RBI double in the third and a run-scoring single in the fifth.
The move paid off as former Cubs infielder Mike Freeman grounded into a fielder’s choice and Jose Ramirez flied to center.
Darvish was rewarded in the bottom of the inning when Contreras hit a sacrifice fly.
For the second time in as many games, Javier Baez executed a daring but successful display of baserunning.
Baez was hit by a pitch from Phil Maton to start the eighth and then stole second. The throw from catcher Sandy Leon skipped into center field, and Baez never stopped as he scored what looked like an insurance run until Lindor’s homer.
Before the game, manager David Ross said he would start moving some players around the lineup.
Baez, batting sixth for the first time this season, smacked a 450-foot home run to center field to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the second.
The top of the batting order finally came through to erase a two-run deficit in the fifth.
Ian Happ hit a double to center and scored on a single by Bryant, who was 3-for-17 with 10 strikeouts before his hit to left.
Rizzo came within a few feet of hitting a home run as he settled for a game-tying double off the center-field wall.
Contreras, whose recent production convinced Ross to bat him cleanup, followed with a single to right.
But third-base coach Will Venable elected to hold Rizzo at third base. Contreras ran to second in anticipation of Naquin’s throw sailing to home plate, but first baseman Carlos Santana cut off the throw and threw to second to nail Contreras.
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