CHICAGO (AP) Chicago Cubs manager David Ross looks at Justin Steele and sees more of the same from last season.
The young left-hander knows what he does well, and he makes it work for him.
“I think he settled into who he was last year, and we're seeing a really good version,” Ross said.
Steele pitched six effective innings and Patrick Wisdom homered, helping the Cubs beat the Texas Rangers 10-3 on Saturday.
Trey Mancini had three of Chicago's 14 hits in its third consecutive win. Yan Gomes hit a solo homer in a four-run eighth, and Wisdom, Dansby Swanson, Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal each had two hits.
“It's a team offense,” Wisdom said. “Everybody's coming up with big knocks, especially with guys in scoring position.”
Swanson is batting .429 (12 for 28) in his first seven games with the Cubs after signing a $177 million, seven-year contract as a free agent. He emphatically pumped his right arm twice after scoring the team's final run.
“He just makes things happen,” Mancini said.
Texas committed five errors in its fourth loss in five games, and a Martín Pérez balk helped set up Chicago’s first run. The Rangers have managed just three runs and 10 hits through the first two games of the weekend set at Wrigley Field.
“It got a little sloppy out there, and hey, we’ve got to wash this off,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “This is not the baseball we’ve been playing. Five errors, that’s a lot.”
Steele (1-0) allowed one run and four hits, walked four and struck out three. He has pitched 12 innings of one-run ball through his first two outings this year.
Steele retired 10 in a row after Josh Jung's RBI single in the third. Following a two-out walk to Mitch Garver in the sixth, he got Jonah Heim to bounce into a fielder's choice.
“Overall, I felt like I was putting good pitches together, good sequences and stuff,” said Steele, who had a 3.18 ERA in a career-best 24 starts and 119 innings last year.
Pérez (1-1) permitted three runs, two earned, and five hits in five innings. The lefty also made a terrific play on Madrigal's comebacker in the fifth, gloving the ball behind his back before throwing to first for the out.
Wisdom hit a leadoff drive in the fourth for his third homer, giving Chicago a 3-1 lead. The Cubs have six homers as a team.
It was the first homer allowed by Pérez in 62 innings, halting the longest active streak in the majors.
“Threw a good pitch for the homer, and he swing the (bat) really good,” Pérez said.
Chicago got two more runs in the sixth on Eric Hosmer's pinch-hit single through a drawn-in infield.
Texas tried to rally in the seventh. Nathaniel Lowe's RBI single off Keegan Thompson made it 5-2, but Jung struck out swinging with runners on second and third for the final out of the inning.
Rangers: RHP Jake Odorizzi will miss the season after he had a right shoulder procedure on Wednesday. Odorizzi was acquired in a trade with Atlanta in November.
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (shoulder strain) threw live batting practice at the team's facility in Arizona on Friday. “Felt really good,” Ross said. “Sent some very positive text messages to some of the pitching guys.” Hendricks hasn't pitched in a major league game since July 5. ... OF Seiya Suzuki (left oblique strain) and LHP Brandon Hughes (left knee inflammation) each made a rehab appearance with Triple-A Iowa. Suzuki went 1 for 1 with a walk and a sacrifice fly, and Hughes pitched a scoreless inning.
Right-handers Jon Gray and Jameson Taillon start on Sunday in the series finale. Gray (0-1, 2.84 ERA) pitched 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball in the Rangers' 2-0 loss to Baltimore on Monday. Taillon (0-1, 6.75 ERA) is making his second start with Chicago after signing a four-year contract in free agency.
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