CHICAGO – Kris Bryant hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning to give the Cubs a 12-11 comeback victory over the San Francisco Giants in a wild, back-and-forth game Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
Nicholas Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber also connected for the Cubs, who have won four straight despite losing leads twice in the last four innings. The Cubs moved back into first place in the NL Central by a half-game over St. Louis, which lost to Milwaukee in a rain-shortened game.
Castellanos, who went 4 for 5, has homered in three straight games for the second time in his career – he also did it with Detroit in 2016 – and has nine in 19 games since being acquired in a trade before the July 31 deadline. He is batting .392 (31 for 79) with the Cubs.
Evan Longoria, Mike Yastrzemski, Stephen Vogt and Kevin Pillar homered for San Francisco, which has dropped three straight.
Castellanos led off the eighth with an infield single to set the stage for Bryant, who stroked a 1-1 pitch from Reyes Moronta (3-7) into the left field bleachers.
Brandon Kintzler (3-2) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win, and Craig Kimbrel worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 11th save.
Cubs starter Yu Darvish tossed seven sharp innings against Philadelphia in his last outing and left with a 5-0 lead. But the bullpen blew the big advantage, leaving the right-hander with a no-decision.
The Cubs led, 6-2, heading into the fifth Wednesday. This time, Darvish coughed up the lead himself.
After retiring 12 straight batters, Darvish gave up a double to Brandon Crawford with one out in the fifth. One out later, Yastrzemski homered to make it 6-4.
The Cubs got a run back in the bottom of the fifth, but San Francisco scored five runs in the sixth to take the lead.
Darvish, after dropping a routine throw at first base for an error with one out, gave up a two-run homer to Vogt to make it 7-6. Pillar then followed with a solo shot to tie the score.
That was all for Darvish, who allowed seven runs (six earned) on seven hits in 52/3 innings. He had eight strikeouts and walked none for a career-high fifth straight start.
Derek Holland took over in the sixth against his former team and didn’t fare any better. He gave up three hits in two-thirds of an inning, including a two-run double to pinch-hitter Austin Slater to give the Giants a 9-7 lead.
The Cubs then rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth against reliever Trevor Gott to grab a 10-9 advantage. Anthony Rizzo drove in the first with a double to left-center, Javy Báez tied the game with an infield single, and Schwarber drove in the go-ahead run with a groundout.
San Francisco scored twice in the seventh to grab an 11-10 lead.
Trainer’s room: Projected closer Brandon Morrow is out for the year following another setback in his recovery from right elbow surgery. Morrow had the arthroscopic procedure last November and hasn’t pitched since July 2018. “He certainly worked really hard in an attempt to come back and tried a lot of different techniques and procedures, and just wasn’t able to get over the hump,” team president Theo Epstein said.
Giants RHP Jeff Samardzija (9-9, 3.54 ERA) faces his former team in the finale of the three-game series Thursday afternoon. Samardzija is 0-2 with a 6.35 ERA in three starts against Chicago. RHP Kyle Hendricks (8-9, 3.37) pitches for the Cubs.