Lamb homers, but Diamondbacks again fall to Cubs
CHICAGO (AP) Jake Lamb found out there is no room for error against the Cubs.
Jason Hammel allowed one hit over seven innings and snapped a tie with a two-run single to lead sizzling Chicago to a 5-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday.
Arizona went up 2-0 on Lamb's 10th homer in the first following a walk. But he was responsible for a defensive miscue that ignited a three-run fourth inning for the Cubs.
After Edwin Escobar (0-2) retired the leadoff hitter, Anthony Rizzo popped the ball up to shallow left field. Lamb, who was playing third base, moved to the right side of the infield because of the shift for Rizzo. He chased Rizzo's pop to shallow left field where it dropped between him and Yasmany Tomas.
''I'm taking responsibility for that one. I guess I thought it was up in the air long enough. At the end of the day I have to go after it until I hear someone and it's tough to hear because it so loud, but that was a tough one. I take responsibility for it,'' Lamb said.
The D-backs walked David Ross intentionally to load the bases later in the inning. Hammel responded with a grounder up the middle that got by Escobar, hit second base and darted into right field to cap a three-run inning.
Escobar gave up four runs and five hits in 3 2/3 innings in his second career start.
''Against a good team, especially the Cubs right now with the way they're playing, you can not give them extra outs. And that's an out. That's a great pitch by Edwin. he did a nice job,'' Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said.
Dexter Fowler added his 17th career leadoff home run, Rizzo hit his 13th homer and Hector Rondon pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 10th save for the Cubs, who have won four straight and 10 of 11.
After giving up the two-run shot, Hammel (7-1) settled down and allowed only one more walk, retiring his last 13 batters
The Cubs bullpen created some drama.
Tomas homered to lead off the eighth against Pedro Strop to get Arizona within 4-3. Strop allowed two more hits before Trevor Cahill replaced him and walked Paul Goldschmidt to load the bases with two out.
Lefty Travis Wood then entered, Richie Weeks Jr. pinch hit for the lefty Lamb and lined to second. Hale pinch-hit for Lamb in the eighth despite his earlier homer because he's hitting .118 against lefties.
''We're doing everything we can to win the game. Jake has been a great player for us all year, but Rickie is a good matchup against a lefty. Jake hasn't hit lefties all that well. I've told him over and over as his career goes on he won't be pinch-hit for, he'll handle lefties, but at that point Rickie was the matchup,'' Hale said.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon didn't mine seeing Lamb leave the game for a pinch-hitter.
''I'd prefer anybody over Lamb. I'm watching this kid swing the bat and I tell you what, that's A-plus stuff,'' Maddon said.
Rizzo homered to right off Daniel Hudson in the bottom of the inning in Arizona's ninth loss in 12 games.
Hammel had to leave with hamstring cramping after just two innings in his last start. He overcame the intermittent rain to lower his ERA to 2.14 amid a remarkable Cubs season.
Chicago (39-15) has the best record in the majors and all five starters have sub-3.00 ERAs. The Cubs are 8-1 on a homestand that ends Sunday and are 5-1 against Arizona (24-34) which fell a season-worst 10 games under .500.
Diamondbacks: RHP Shelby Miller (finger) was to start a game in extended spring training Saturday.
Cubs: It was Rondon's first appearance since he was sidelined briefly with a sore back.
Hale has intentionally walked three hitters in the series. The two on Friday scored in a five-run eighth inning. Hammel's hit after Ross' walk gave him seven RBIs, one behind St. Louis' Adam Wainwright for most among major league pitchers.
HUDSON GETS TAGGED
Hudson gave up his first home run since Aug. 15 of last season. He had a streak of 42 consecutive appearances without giving up a homer.
Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta (9-0, 1.56 ERA) seeks to win his 21st straight decision and move closer to Carl Hubbell's record of 24 in the series finale Sunday. LHP Patrick Corbin (2-5, 4.96) starts for the D-backs.