SEATTLE (AP) — Kyle Schwarber hit a two-run homer with two out in the eighth, and the Chicago Cubs topped the Seattle Mariners 6-5 on Tuesday night for their third consecutive victory.
Schwarber’s long ball was the last of three homers for Chicago, and easily the most important.
Brandon Brennan (1-2) struck out Javier Baez to end the seventh inning and got the first two outs of the eighth before Willson Contreras doubled. Schwarber then drove Brennan’s changeup into the second deck in right field for his first homer since April 8.
Brad Brach (3-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings for the win and Steve Cishek got four outs for his first save of the season.
Seattle put its first two batters on in the ninth, but Tim Beckham bounced into a double play and Cishek struck out Jay Bruce to end the game. Cishek pumped his arm emphatically Bruce looked at a called third strike with Domingo Santana on third.
The Mariners grabbed a 5-4 lead on Edwin Encarnacion’s leadoff drive in the seventh. Schwarber was a spectator as Encarnacion’s eighth homer — and the 60th for Seattle this season — sailed into the bullpens beyond the fence in left field. The shot silenced the thousands of Cubs fans that showed up for Chicago’s first game in Seattle in six years.
They had plenty to cheer a few minutes later.
Daniel Descalso hit the first leadoff home run of his career on the second pitch from Seattle starter Felix Hernandez. Anthony Rizzo added his sixth homer of the season in the fifth inning, a two-run shot that gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead.
Cole Hamels struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings for Chicago. He was charged with four runs, two earned, and six hits.
Seattle right-hander Felix Hernandez allowed multiple home runs in a game for the second time this season. He allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said reliever Brandon Morrow had an injection in his right elbow on Monday and won’t throw for two or three weeks.
Morrow had offseason surgery on his elbow. He was shut down recently after not recovering well from a bullpen session.
ON THE FARM
Seattle optioned outfielder Mallex Smith to Triple-A Tacoma and recalled Braden Bishop. Smith went hitless in his previous 24 at-bats spanning a stretch of 10 games. The struggles at the plate seemed to carry into the field where Smith had made errors in each of his past two games and had a potential leaping catch bounce off his glove and over the fence for a home run during the 10-game stretch.
Hernandez matched a season high with eight strikeouts. He is four shy of 2,500 for his career.
Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (1-1) pitches back home for the first time since the 2014 season.
Mariners: LHP Marco Gonzales (5-0) tries to remain perfect on the season.