Leiter works 5 1/3 in ER, Cubs edge Boston 3-1


Red Sox

Four pitchers combined to limit the Red Sox to five hits as Chicago won for the fifth time in six games.

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Mark Leiter Jr. pitches against the Boston Red Sox in the first inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Saturday, July 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) The Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Mark Leiter Jr. threw 5 1/3 solid emergency relief innings, Nico Hoerner and Patrick Wisdom each had two hits and the Chicago Cubs capitalized on a pair of errors from Boston and beat the Red Sox 3-1 on Saturday night.

Four pitchers combined to limit the Red Sox to five hits as Chicago won for the fifth time in six games.

David Robertson had four outs for his 11th save in 14 chances. He gave up a brace before pulling out Rafael Devers and JD Martinez and worked around a step, persuading a steal to end the game.

Jackie Bradley Jr., Jarren Duran and Devers doubled for the Red Sox, who were down four of five. Boston went 20-6 in June but lost two straight to the rebuilding Cubs.

Chicago starter Alec Mills is out with lower back pain after throwing just seven pitches. Mills, 30, knocked out Duran and left after giving Devers a brace. Leiter Jr. came in and pulled Martinez out and knocked out Xander Bogaerts, ending the inning.

“It was awesome,” Mills said. “What he did was special.”

Leiter Jr. (2-2) allowed three hits, struck out five and walked one.

“It was nice to feel that emotion,” said Leiter Jr., who received a standing ovation from the crowd. “Proud to be able to keep us where we were and not have to go through other guys and really use a lot of weapons.”

Mills was activated June 7 from the 60-day disabled list for a sprained right quadriceps.

Mills said the pain was “a very similar feeling” to his previous injury, and he’ll see how he recovers.

“The pitch to Duran on the strikeout was when I first felt a little something,” Mills said. “It didn’t get better, I thought maybe I could pull through.”

The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the second after two errors. Wisdom scored a single and advanced on third baseman Devers’ pitch error. Wisdom then scored on pitcher Josh Winckowski’s pitch error at first on a bunt single from Hoerner, who went third on a groundout and scored on Narciso Crook’s sacrifice fly.

Boston cut the lead to one in the sixth, chasing Leiter. Bradley Jr. led off with a double, advanced on Duran’s single and scored on a double play.

Pinch runner Nelson Velázquez stole second, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Wisdom’s single against Tanner Houck in the eighth.

Winckowski (3-2), a rookie, allowed two runs, one earned and six hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked one. He was trying to earn his fourth consecutive start since his recall from Triple-A on June 15.

“I felt really good,” he said. “It’s probably the best I’ve felt since I’ve been here in terms of working both sides of the plate and landing the slider whenever I needed a shot.”

HE SAID IT

Winckowski said pitching at Wrigley Field was “a little disappointing”.

“Fenway kind of has a presence,” he said. “I really didn’t understand that here, to be honest. I told my mom last night, this place is very standard.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Red Sox: LHP Rich Hill (sprained left knee) went on the 15-day injured list. He left Friday’s game in the fifth inning. “We’ll find out a bit more when we get back to Fenway,” Hill said. … In a corresponding move, RHP Phillips Valdéz has been recalled from Triple-A Worcester. … RHP Nathan Eovaldi (lower back inflammation) threw a 35-pitch bullpen session. … RHP Garrett Whitlock (Right Hip Inflammation) kicked off a bullpen session and participated in field workouts. He’s likely to be a multi-inning reliever when he returns, manager Alex Cora said. … INF Kiké Hernández (right hip) made 20 punches. If he progresses well, he could start a rehab mission on Friday or Saturday, Cora said. … LHP James Paxton (Tommy John surgery) threw a 32-pitch bullpen.

Cubs: OF Seiya Suzuki (sprained left ring finger) is expected to return from IL on Monday. He played right field at Triple-A Iowa during a rehab assignment on Saturday. … RHP Marcus Stroman (right shoulder inflammation) will pitch Sunday for Iowa. Stroman said he hopes this will be his only rehab game before he returns from IL. … LHP Drew Smyly (right oblique strain) is set to begin a rehab assignment on Monday. … LHP Daniel Norris (sprained left index finger) pitched Saturday. … INF Nick Madrigal (left groin strain) was running the bases.

NEXT

RHP Keegan Thompson (7-3, 3.34 ERA) will start for the Cubs in Sunday’s series finale. Boston had yet to announce a starter. RHP Connor Seabold, who was opted for Worcester on Monday and has remained with the squad as a taxi squad player, could start.

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