Sloppy Indians drop 7th straight
CHICAGO — Willson Contreras and Cameron Maybin were plunked by consecutive pitches from Cleveland reliever Nick Wittgren in the ninth inning, forcing home the winning run as the Chicago Cubs beat the Indians 6-5 Tuesday night.
Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor hit a tying, two-run homer in the top of the ninth, but the Indians couldn’t take advantage.
Left-hander Oliver Perez (1-1) allowed a one-out walk to Kris Bryant in the bottom of the inning. Anthony Rizzo followed with a single that advanced Bryant to third. Wittgren drilled Contreras with a 1-1 fastball, then hit Maybin with a bases-loaded changeup.
“That’s something that’s been in this team’s culture for a while, coming from behind and winning games that we aren’t really supposed to,” Bryant said.
Wittgren said he tried to induce a groundball for a potential double play.
“Last pitch, changeup, I was just trying to throw it middle to going into him, so then he gets on top of it and rolls it over and then we have a chance for the double. Obviously I just let it go way too soon,” Wittgren said.
Trailing 5-3 in the ninth, Josh Naylor drew a leadoff walk from Cubs closer Jeremy Jeffress. One out later, Lindor hit a two-run shot to left. It was his eighth of the season and the second blown save for Jeffress (4-1).
Lindor’s home run took away a victory for Cubs starter Yu Darvish. The NL Cy Young Award candidate allowed three runs and nine hits over seven innings. He struck out seven and walked one as he bounced back from a loss to the Reds in his last outing.
Rookie Tyler Naquin was 4 for 4 for the Indians, who lost their season-high seventh straight game.
“There’s pressure,” Lindor said. “We’re humans. We see how many games we have left. We see the scoreboards.”
With the score tied at three in the seventh, Indians reliever James Karinchak walked Bryant with one out. Bryant advanced to third on Rizzo’s single, and Contreras followed with a sacrifice fly to right to score the go-ahead run.