Red Sox

Leiter works 5 1/3 in emergency relief, Cubs top Boston 3-1

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., throws against the Boston Red Sox during 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 innings of emergency relief, Nico Hoerner and Patrick Wisdom each had two hits and the Chicago Cubs capitalized on a pair of Boston errors and beat the Red Sox 3-1 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 got four outs for his 11th save in 14 chances. He gave up a double before striking out Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez and worked around a walk, coaxing a fly out to end the game.

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

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Chicago starter Alec Mills exited due to lower back pain after throwing just seven pitches. The 30-year-old Mills struck out Duran and left after allowing a double to Devers. Leiter Jr. came on and struck out Martinez and got Xander Bogaerts to fly out, ending the inning.

“That 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 exited to an ovation from the crowd. “Proud of being able to kind of hold us where we were and not have to run through other guys and really use a lot of arms.”

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

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

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

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

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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 off Tanner Houck in the eighth.

Winckowski (3-2), a rookie, gave up two runs, one earned, and six hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked one. He was trying to win his fourth straight start since being recalled from Triple-A on June 15.

“I felt really good,” he said. “This is probably the best my location has felt since being up here in terms of working both sides of the plate and landing the slider whenever I needed a strike.”

HE SAID IT

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

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

TRAINER’S ROOM

Red Sox: LHP Rich Hill (sprained left knee) went on the 15-day injured list. He exited Friday’s game in the fifth inning. “We’re going to find out a little bit more when we get back home at Fenway,” Hill said. … In a corresponding move, RHP Phillips Valdéz was recalled from Triple-A Worcester. … RHP Nathan Eovaldi (low back inflammation) threw a 35-pitch bullpen session. … RHP Garrett Whitlock (right hip inflammation) threw a bullpen session and participated in fielding practice. He is likely to be a multiple-inning reliever when he returns, manager Alex Cora said. … INF Kiké Hernández (right hip) took 20 swings. If he progresses well, he could begin a rehab assignment Friday or Saturday, Cora said. … LHP James Paxton (Tommy John surgery) threw a 32-pitch bullpen.

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

UP 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 optioned to Worcester on Monday and has remained with the team as a taxi squad player, could start.

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