CHICAGO – Jason Heyward and Kris Bryant rescued the Chicago Cubs with a clutch swing and some nifty baserunning.
Heyward hit a tiebreaking RBI single with two out in the eighth inning, and the Cubs edged the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 on Friday in their first game after the All-Star break.
Bryant set up Heyward's winning hit with a one-out walk off Kyle Crick (3-5). The All-Star slugger advanced on Victor Caratini's two-out walk, took a smart lead and hustled home from second on Heyward's opposite-field liner to left, sliding home just ahead of the tag attempt by catcher Elias Díaz.
“KB, I've talked about it before, he's a real good baserunner,” manager Joe Maddon said. “If you take a secondary lead, you're a great teammate. It was one of those weird, close-cut games all day, but give our guys credit.”
NL Central-leading Chicago blew a late 3-0 lead before earning its third win in four games in the opener of an important nine-game homestand.
Yu Darvish struck out eight while pitching six sparkling innings in one of his best starts since signing with the Cubs before last season. The right-hander said he has felt better in a Cubs uniform, but “the result was better today.”
Bryant snapped a scoreless tie when he led off the seventh with his 18th homer, a drive to left off Chris Archer after Melky Cabrera had trouble tracking his foul fly to right in the afternoon sun.
Robel Garcia added a sacrifice fly off Michael Feliz and pinch hitter David Bote made it 3-0 when he walked with the bases loaded. But the Cubs wasted a chance for more when Kyle Schwarber grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The Pirates then tied it in the top half of the eighth. With two out and runners on first and second, Starling Marte hit a long drive onto Waveland Avenue against setup man Pedro Strop. It was Marte's first homer since June 27 and No. 13 on the year.
“We could have folded when Marte hit the three-run homer,” Bryant said. “It kind of took the wind out of our sails, but I was very pleased to see us come together and score right away.
“We're going to need a lot of that in the second half because there are going to be times when that happens and we're going to have to respond accordingly.”
Randy Rosario (1-0) the fourth of five Cubs relievers, got the last out of the eighth for the win. Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth for his third save in four chances.
Darvish retired his first 13 batters. He allowed two hits and walked one, but remained winless in 13 appearances at Wrigley Field since joining the Cubs.