Cody Bellinger and Nico Hoerner hit home runs, Javier Assad pitched a career-high seven innings and the Chicago Cubs beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-2 on Friday night to improve to 7-3 in August.
After losing the finale of a three-game series against the Mets on Wednesday, the Cubs bounced back with their 17th win in 23 games.
Bellinger and Hoerner both connected off Blue Jays right-hander José Berríos in the first inning. Hoerner went deep for the ninth time before Belinger drilled a first-pitch, two-run shot, his 18th.
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The Cubs are 29-14 when they hit two or more home runs.
Brandon Belt replied with a solo home run for the Blue Jays, going deep off Michael Fulmer in the eighth. The home run was Belt’s 11th.
Making his third start of the season, Assad (2-2) allowed one run and four hits, all singles. He walked one and struck out two.
Assad started in place of struggling left-hander Drew Smyly, who was moved to the bullpen earlier this week.
Fulmer worked the eighth and Adbert Alzolay finished.
Chicago took advantage of an error by Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to double its lead in the fourth. Seiya Suzuki hit a two-run double and scored on a two-out single by Mike Tauchman.
Berríos (9-8) allowed six runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. He walked none and struck out three.
Berríos came in with a 2.72 ERA in 10 home appearances this season, and hadn’t allowed more than four runs in a single start north of the border before Friday.
Cubs: RHP Marcus Stroman (right hip) threw a bullpen session before the game, his second since going on the IL.
Blue Jays: AL batting leader Bo Bichette (right knee) ran on the field, hit in the cage and took grounders before the game. Manager John Schneider said Bichette is “making good progress.” Bichette left a July 31 game against Baltimore after jamming his knee when he pulled up while running the bases. … RHP Jordan Romano (back) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Buffalo on Saturday.
Cubs LF Ian Happ made a sliding catch in foul territory to retire Daulton Varsho for the final out of the seventh.
Toronto optioned right-hander Alek Manoah to Triple-A, the second time this season the 2022 AL Cy Young Award finalist has been sent down. Manoah is 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA over seven starts since July 7, when he returned from his first demotion. The Blue Jays recalled RHP Hagen Danner from Buffalo.
Danner came on for his major league debut in the ninth but left after seven pitches because of an apparent injury. RHP Jay Jackson replaced Danner.
BYE BYE, BAUTISTA!
Former slugger José Bautista signed a one-day contract Friday so he could retire with the Blue Jays. Bautista’s name will be added to the team’s level of excellence in a pregame ceremony Saturday.
The Cubs are 28-28 on the road.
Cubs LHP Justin Steele (13-3, 2.68 ERA) looks to win a fifth consecutive start when he faces the Blue Jays on Saturday. RHP Chris Bassitt (11-6, 3.87) starts for Toronto.