CHICAGO – Chris Coghlan finally solved Bud Norris with a bases-loaded triple in a four-run second inning, leading the Cubs to a 7-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on a soggy Saturday at Wrigley Field.
The game was delayed because of rain for more than three hours.
Justin Grimm (4-2) pitched 31⁄3 hitless innings after a long rain delay as the last-place Cubs won their second straight against the AL East leaders. Logan Watkins had two hits and two RBIs, and touted rookie Javier Baez hit his seventh homer in the seventh, a hard opposite-field liner into the basket in right.
Coghlan was 0 for 15 with six strikeouts against Norris (11-8) before connecting for his fifth triple of the season.
The Cubs will try Sunday for their first series sweep since winning three straight at Boston from June 30 to July 2.
The Orioles had seven hits after they announced before the game that All-Star third baseman Manny Machado had decided to have season-ending right knee surgery. Machado hurt himself on an awkward swing Aug. 11 against the Yankees.
It’s a difficult blow for Baltimore, which is in prime position for its first division title since 1997. It leads New York by seven games after the Yankees beat the White Sox, 5-3, earlier in the day.
The Orioles swept a three-game set against the Sox before crossing town for their first series at Wrigley since 2008. They lost 4-1 on Friday when Jake Arrieta pitched seven solid innings against his former team.
A day later, they still were trying to find their prolific offense.
Adam Jones hit an RBI double in the first and Norris helped himself with a run-scoring infield hit in the second.
But the Cubs responded with four runs in the bottom half, grabbing the lead for good on Coghlan’s two-out liner into the right-field corner.
After Baez struck out for the final out of the second, the game was delayed for 3 hours, 9 minutes while a storm front passed through the area.
The crowd of 37,156 cheered loudly when the grounds crew successfully pulled the tarp over the infield, and there was more applause in the final innings of Chicago-based Jackie Robinson West’s victory in the Little League World Series.
The big cheer for the grounds crew came after Tuesday night’s game against San Francisco was called and then suspended after the workers had trouble covering the infield during a popup storm.
Orioles: Machado’s 2013 season cut short by a similar injury to his left knee. He likely will return to Dr. Neal ElAttrache in the next week or so for the procedure on his right knee.
Cubs: RF Justin Ruggiano was scratched due to left ankle soreness. He was replaced by Ryan Sweeney. ... RHP Brian Schlitter’s rehab was transferred to Triple-A Iowa. The reliever was placed on the disabled list on Aug. 10 with right shoulder inflammation.
Cubs LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (3-1, 2.75 ERA) and Orioles RHP Miguel Gonzalez (6-6, 3.80 ERA) meet in Sunday’s series finale. Wada signed with Baltimore in December 2011, but injured his elbow and never pitched for the Orioles. Gonzalez is coming up from the minors to replace Ubaldo Jimenez in Baltimore’s rotation.