CHICAGO (AP) — Seiya Suzuki and Jared Young each hit two-run homers, Jameson Taillon pitched six scoreless innings and the struggling Chicago Cubs improved their playoff chances with a 6-0 win over the Colorado Rockies Friday.
Chicago had lost 10 of 13 but it will remain at least tied with Miami for the third and final National League wild card berth. The Marlins will play the Brewers Friday night. Cincinnati, which plays host to Pittsburgh later, was a half-game behind the two teams at the start of the day.
Suzuki singled in the opening inning to bring home Chicago’s first run, then tagged starter Noah Davis (0-3) for his 20th homer in the fourth.
“Yesterday I didn’t get any hits,” Suzuki said through a translator after getting three hits, knocking in three runs and scoring twice. “To bounce back off of that and get a few hits today with a homer is something I’m really, really happy about.”
Young added his second home run in the sixth off reliever Gavin Hollowell and Dansby Swanson had an RBI single in the seventh off Brent Suter.
“The wins, right now, they all feel good; no matter how you get ‘em,” Cubs manager David Ross said after his club stopped a two-game skid.
Taillon (8-10) allowed four hits, walked four and struck out seven to end a streak of seven winless starts. He allowed runners into scoring position in three of his first four innings but worked out of trouble each time.
“This team went out and got me for a reason and I had an opportunity to go out and kind of prove them right,” said Taillon, who signed as a free agent before the season. “Having a good game on a day like today when we really needed it felt really good.”
Drew Smyly and Hayden Wesneski worked the final three innings to finish the shutout.
Davis allowed four hits and three earned runs while walking two and striking out four in the first five innings. The last-place Rockies (56-97) have lost five straight and inched closer to the club’s first-ever 100-loss season.
STROMAN WILL START
Ross said All-Star RHP Marcus Stroman will start Saturday; the first time the 32-year-old will open a game since July 31. He spent most of August and early September on the injured list after being diagnosed with a ribcage cartilage fracture.
Stroman (10-8, 3.76 ERA) made a pair of relief appearances during a road series in Arizona after being activated from the injured list Sept. 15.
WELCOME BACK … AND GOODBYE
Colorado’s Kris Bryant, one of the brightest stars on the Cubs’ 2016 world championship club, got a long enough ovation from the home crowd in his first at-bat that he paused to tip his helmet. The roar was almost as loud a few pitches later, however, when umpire Dan Iassogna called Bryant out looking at a third strike. Bryant finished 0 for 4.
Suzuki is the third Japanese-born major leaguer to hit at least 20 home runs while driving in at least 70 runs in a season; joining Hideki Matsui and Shohei Ohtani.
Cubs: Cody Bellinger was struck on the right foot by a bouncing Davis pitch in the first but jogged to first without a visit from a trainer. He remained in the game.
Colorado RHP Chris Flexen (1-8, 7.19) faces Stroman on Saturday afternoon.