The veteran catcher made only the 14th cleanout in his 11-year career, responding to Homer’s solo in the fourth and another in the ninth to lift the Cubs over the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 Saturday night.
“I put him at the top of the rankings because he has such a high quality,” said Cubs Director David Ross. “It doesn’t matter who we’re facing. It doesn’t matter—right, left-handed. It’s a really good approach.”
Cubs have won three out of five past, which is good news for the franchise after losing eight out of nine.
The match was tied at 1 until the Cubs sent eight to the board in the decisive ninth. Wilson Contreras, Seiya Suzuki and Ian Hap walked to load the bases without any ends. That brought in Gomez, who lined up alone in the center to make it 2-1. Rafael Ortega added a rule-breaking walk and Jason Hayward had a ground pass from RBI to push the advantage to 4-1.
Rowan Wake ran into ninth and lost one inning before saving for the third time. Michael Givens (3-0) threw two-thirds of a game from a point-free rest.
Linebacker D had a tie on first base in the ninth, but Wick retired Cooper Hamill in a swing stroke for the final.
Chicago right-hander Kyle Hendrix has given up one round over 5 and 2/3 innings. He delivered five hits, walked twice and hit two.
“It was a little fight,” Hendricks said. “But with Yan, he stuck me. Stuck with the fast ball down and away, he kept telling me to get a good angle, stay on top. In the third or fourth inning, he started clicking and rendezvous.”
It was another tough outing for loyal D quarterback Marc Melancon (0-5), who scored no exit and let the first four Cubs hitters from ninth base make it to base. The Arizona veteran signed the $14 million, two-year sabbatical in hopes of adding some stability to the back end of the ball, which was a big problem last season.
Melancon had a particularly hard time getting into games that don’t save situations.
Quarter D manager Tore Lovulue said: “The bottom line is he has to execute at a higher level no matter what. If it’s a tie game or not, he has to lead the cutter.”
Linebacker D took a 1-0 lead in the second half with Nick Ahmed’s song brought home by Ketel Marte.
Gomez got the Cubs on the scoreboard with Homer solo in fourth, driving a 402-foot fastball into the left-center bench to tie it at 1. This was his second homer of the season.
His only flaw was right-back Zach Gallen, who threw six stellar runs. He hit nine, stopped two hits and walked one. It’s the latest in a string of good performances for Gallen, who has a 1.05 ERA through six starts.
Gallen looked more like him in 2020, when he was one of the best shooters in the National League in the shortened season and finished ninth in the NL Cy Young vote. Like many linebackers D, he struggled in 2021, finishing 4-10 and scoring a 4.30 ERA.
Cubs: Suzuki (right ankle) is back in the starting line-up for the first time since Monday.
Cubs LHP Justin Steele (1-4, 5.32 ERA) will start against Diamondbacks RHP Humberto Castellanos (2-1, 4.32) in the conclusion of the three-game series on Sunday.