By IAN HARRISON | Associated Press
TORONTO (AP) — Franmil Reyes homered, Nico Hoerner drove in a pair of runs and the Chicago Cubs beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-5 on Wednesday night to avoid a three-game sweep.
Ian Happ and Zach McKinstry each had two hits as the Cubs snapped a five-game losing streak north of the border. Chicago went 15-15 in August, its first non-losing month since going 19-8 in May 2021.
“It’s a good month,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “Try to build on that going into September.”
Cavan Biggio hit a two-run home run and Alejandro Kirk added a three-run blast for the Blue Jays, who are in position for the third AL wild-card spot but went 13-14 in August, their first losing month of the season.
Toronto has a two-game lead in the playoff race over division rival Baltimore. The Blue Jays have 33 games remaining, 10 against the Orioles.
“The group of guys that are in (the clubhouse) are embracing the fact that every game is going to be important,” interim manager John Schneider said.
Reyes homered off Toronto right-hander Mitch White in the fifth inning, his 13th. He has 24 hits and four home runs in 22 games since joining the Cubs on Aug. 9 after being cut by Cleveland.
“Honestly, it feels very good,” Reyes said. “Not everyone has a second chance. I have to take advantage of this second opportunity.”
White (1-5) allowed six runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings, his third loss in five starts with Toronto.
Cubs right-hander Luke Farrell made his second start and third appearance of the season, giving up two runs and two hits in two-plus innings. Farrell retired the first six batters in order but Teoscar Hernández singled to begin the third and Biggio followed with a drive into the second deck, his fourth.
Farrell is the son of former Blue Jays and Red Sox manager John Farrell. His older brother, Shane, is Toronto’s amateur scouting director.
Manuel Rodríguez (1-0) replaced Farrell and retired all six batters he faced.
“That was huge from him,” Ross said.
Mark Leiter Jr. pitched one inning, Erich Uelmen got two outs, Michael Rucker got three and Brandon Hughes worked 1 1/3 innings before Rowan Wick, the seventh Chicago pitcher, worked the ninth for his ninth save in 13 chances.
Happ opened the scoring with an RBI single in the first and Cubs catcher Yan Gomes made it 2-0 in the second, scoring from third when Alfonso Rivas attempted a two-out steal of second. Rivas was thrown out.
Hoerner hit a two-run double in the third and scored on Rafael Ortega’s bloop single to left.
Kirk cut it to 6-5 when he connected off Uelmen in the sixth, his 13th. McKinstry pushed the lead back to two runs with an RBI single off right-hander David Phelps in the seventh.
Cubs: C Willson Contreras (left ankle) was held out of the starting lineup. Contreras left Tuesday’s game in the sixth inning.
Wick, from North Vancouver, British Columbia, became the third Canadian-born pitcher to save a game at Rogers Centre. The others are former Blue Jays reliever Paul Quantrill and current Toronto closer Jordan Romano.
In a swap of minor league players, Toronto acquired C Karl Ellison from Philadelphia for RHP Vinny Nittoli. In a separate transaction, Toronto acquired minor league C Edward Duran from Miami to complete an Aug. 2 trade.
NORTH SIDERS IN THE NORTH
The Cubs won at Toronto for the first time since a 7-4 victory on June 15, 2008.
Cubs: RHP Adrian Sampson (1-4, 3.97 ERA) will be activated off the restricted list to start at St. Louis Friday. LHP Jordan Montgomery (7-3, 3.28) goes for the Cardinals.
Blue Jays: Toronto has not named a starter for Friday’s game at Pittsburgh, but RHP Alek Manoah (12-7, 2.60) is next in line. The Pirates have not named a starter.
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