OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Cody Bellinger hit an RBI single to break a scoreless tie and ignite a four-run outburst in the eighth inning, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 4-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.
Seiya Suzuki led off the inning with a walk. Patrick Wisdom followed with a double, sending Suzuki to third. Bellinger then lined his first hit of the game past a diving Ryan Noda into right field, scoring Suzuki and putting the Cubs in front.
“Wis made my job a little easier, getting the guy to third, less than two (outs),” Bellinger said. “Got a pitch up in the zone and just wanted to stay through it and put the ball in play.”
Yan Gomes followed with an RBI groundout and Nick Madrigal added an RBI single to give Chicago a three-run lead. Madrigal scored on a fielding error by right fielder Conner Capel and the Cubs clinched their fourth straight series win.
“It was a huge win,” Bellinger said. “Obviously, it was a struggle today early on. But throughout a long season, these types of games are going to happen. For us to come out on top and get a W in those circumstances was good.”
Marcus Stroman continued his strong start to the season, pitching six scoreless innings and striking out five to lower his ERA to 0.75. Mark Leiter Jr. (1-0) worked a scoreless seventh for his first win of the season.
“I just feel good, mentally, physically, emotionally,” Stroman said. “I just feel like I’m very in tune right now, on and off the field. I feel like the defense behind me is incredible. They’re giving me more confidence. I feel like the vibe of the squad in the clubhouse is amazing. I feel like it’s everything kind of playing into one.”
Oakland starter Ken Waldichuk pitched five scoreless innings, striking out five. Reliever Trevor May (2-3) managed to get just one out and was charged with three runs and the loss.
“Wal did a great job,” A's manager Mark Kotsay said. “He really, really commanded the baseball, threw strikes, pounded the zone.”
The A's finished with just two hits.
Oakland lost its sixth straight game and fell to 3-15, matching the 1951 Philadelphia A’s for the worst 18-game start in franchise history. The Athletics have also lost their first six series for the first time in club history.
The A’s will promote top pitching prospect Mason Miller from Triple-A Las Vegas to start Wednesday’s series finale. The 24-year-old right-hander was dominant in his lone Triple-A outing last Friday, pitching five scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts and averaging 100 mph with his fastball.
“I watched every pitch Mason threw in Las Vegas the other night and if that’s not forcing your way here, I don’t know what is,” general manager David Forst said. “He’s incredibly talented and a number of factors made it so that he is the right guy to be here tomorrow and start the game.”
Miller was a third-round draft pick in 2021 out of Gardner-Webb University. He will join the starting rotation in place of RHP James Kaprielian, who pitched out of the bullpen Tuesday night.
“The stuff is real,” Kotsay praised. “The velocity is real. The breaking ball is good. The fact that in Triple-A, he went there and threw strikes, dominated the strike zone and really had that much success was impressive.”
Athletics: LF Brent Rooker left the game after one inning with hamstring tightness. He was replaced by Tyler Wade. ... OF Ramón Laureano missed his second straight game with right hamstring tightness, though he was available off the bench. ... INF Jace Peterson returned to the lineup after missing Monday’s game with left wrist soreness. ... RHP Dany Jiménez was placed on the 15-day injured list with a right shoulder strain. RHP Adam Oller was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace him on the active roster. ... RHP Domingo Acevedo (left back strain) threw a bullpen session and is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas in the next couple of days.
Cubs LHP Justin Steele (2-0, 1.42 ERA) starts Wednesday afternoon against Miller, who is making his major league debut.
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