PHOENIX (AP) — Yan Gomes’ cameo as a middle-of-the-order masher was a success for the Chicago Cubs.
The veteran catcher batted cleanup for just the 14th time in his 11-year career, responding with a solo homer in the fourth inning and a go-ahead single in the ninth to lift the Cubs over the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 on Saturday night.
“I put him up there at the top of the order because he’s got such a quality at-bat,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “It doesn’t matter who we’re facing. It doesn’t matter — righty, lefty. It’s a really good approach.”
The Cubs have won three out of their past five, which is welcome good news for the franchise after dropping eight of nine.
The game was tied at 1 until the Cubs sent eight to the plate in the decisive ninth. Willson Contreras walked, Seiya Suzuki singled and Ian Happ walked to load the bases with no outs. That brought up Gomes, who lined a single to center to make it 2-1. Rafael Ortega added a bases-loaded walk and Jason Heyward had an RBI groundout to push the advantage to 4-1.
Rowan Wick worked the ninth and gave up one run before earning his third save. Mychal Givens (3-0) threw two-thirds of an inning of scoreless relief.
The D-backs had the tying run on first base in the ninth, but Wick retired Cooper Hummel on a swinging strikeout for the final out.
Chicago right-hander Kyle Hendricks gave up one run over 5 2/3 innings. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out two.
“It was a little bit of a battle,” Hendricks said. “But having Yan, he stuck with me. Stuck with the fastball down and away, he kept telling me to get a good angle, stay on top. About the third or fourth inning, it started clicking and coming together.”
It was another tough outing for D-backs reliever Mark Melancon (0-5), who didn’t record an out and…