Buchholz strong in return from DL, D-backs beat Cubs
CHICAGO (AP) — Clay Buchholz took another step in mounting a career comeback.
Buchholz pitched effectively into the seventh inning in his return from the disabled list, Steven Souza Jr. had three hits and an RBI and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Chicago Cubs 5-1 on Tuesday night for their third straight win.
Souza, Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb each drove in a run during Arizona’s three-run fifth, and then Jon Jay and Ketel Marte drove in a run each to help the Diamondbacks pull away. Souza reached base five times as Arizona won for the fifth time in its last six games at Wrigley Field.
Buchholz (3-1), sidelined since June 25 with an oblique injury, walked two and struck out five in 6 2/3 innings as he lowered his ERA to 2.38 in eight starts with Diamondbacks. Brad Boxberger, Arizona’s third reliever, struck out the side in the ninth.
“It’s just I’ve been around too long to melt away in the minor leagues,” Buchholz said. “I feel like I’m a big-league pitcher.”
Buchholz signed a minor league contract with the Diamondbacks in May after being released by Kansas City. The 33-year-old right-hander had signed a minor league deal with the Royals in March in a bid to come back from right forearm surgery that limited him to just two games with Philadelphia in 2017.
In this one, Buchholz didn’t allow a hit until two outs in the fourth when Javier Baez squibbed an infield single to third.
“It was a great effort by him,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “When you get him back at this point in time, it’s a huge boost for us.”
“You know, you can get all the rehab starts you want,” Buchholz said, “but nothing quite gets down to it like a major league baseball game in a park like this, great atmosphere against a really good team.”
Buchholz was ready for the stage.
“I’ve seen him in the past,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “He used to throw harder, but he’s always had a dynamic changeup.
“He had that going tonight and every time he threw a curveball, it was a curveball strike.”
Jason Heyward lined a solo shot off Buchholz in the sixth, but NL Central-leading Chicago lost for the third time in its last four.
Baez’s left knee swelled up after Souza slid into him at second base in the seventh, and Ben Zobrist replaced the All-Star in the eighth. Baez’s knee was iced, and even though the infielder said it was bruised and sore, he hopes to return Wednesday.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was held out of the starting lineup with a recurrence of the left shoulder inflammation that caused the slugger to miss 16 games. Maddon said Bryant’s injury requires rest, and the two-time All-Star may sit again Wednesday.
Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks (6-9) labored through five innings, allowing three runs and seven hits. The righty struck out eight and escaped jams in the first and third innings.
Hendricks threw 71 pitches through the first three innings. The Diamondbacks loaded the based in the third on a single and two walks, but Hendricks ended the threat by striking out Lamb.
“My stuff was good today,” Hendricks said. “I’ve just got to put guys away quicker and get quicker outs. It’s a little frustrating.”
After taking a 3-0 lead in the fifth, the Diamondbacks added a run in the sixth off Eddie Butler on Jay’s sacrifice fly.
Heyward cut it to 4-1 in the bottom half of the inning when he homered into the basket in left field.
Andrew Chafin relieved Buchholz with two outs in the seventh after Buchholz allowed sharp singles to Ben Zobrist and Victor Caratini. Archie Bradley closed out the inning by fanning Albert Almora Jr.
Marte singled in a run in the ninth to complete the scoring.
To make room on the roster for Buchholz, Arizona optioned RHP Matt Koch to Triple-A Reno.
The Cubs activated Butler (right groin strain) from the 60-day disabled list Tuesday and sent RHP Luke Farrell to Triple-A Iowa. Butler took over for Hendricks in the sixth and allowed one run and three hits in two innings.
Diamondbacks: OF Jarrod Dyson (strained right groin) and INF Deven Marrero (strained left oblique) have accelerated their workouts but aren’t yet ready for rehab assignments. Both are on the 10-day DL.
Cubs: Baez was replaced at second base in the eighth by Zobrist, but the Cubs made no announcement on an injury. … RH starter Yu Darvish, who hasn’t pitched since May 20 (right elbow impingement and inflammation), threw a 16-pitch bullpen session without discomfort. … Bryant didn’t play between June 22 and July 11 because of his shoulder pain. Maddon said the 2016 NL MVP felt it again on a swing during Monday night’s 7-1 loss.
Arizona LHP Robbie Ray (3-2, 5.37) takes the mound against Cubs LHP Jon Lester (12-3, 3.14) on Wednesday. Lester has won eight straight decisions before St. Louis ripped him for eight runs in three innings in a loss last Friday.