Ian Happ’s 4 hits, bases-loaded walk lead Cubs over Rangers 9-5

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Ian Happ tied his career high with four hits and drew a tiebreaking bases-loaded walk from José Leclerc in a four-run ninth inning, helping the Chicago Cubs beat the Texas Rangers 9-5 on Sunday to salvage the finale of their opening three-game series.

With the score 5-5, Leclerc (0-1) walked Michael Busch with one out, allowed Nico Hoerner’s swinging-bunt single down the third-base line and walked Mike Tauchman.

Miles Mastrobuoni grounded into a forceout at the plate, Happ fell behind in the count 1-2 but walked on a full-count fastball that sailed wide and Seiya Suzuki greeted Jacob Latz with a two-run single. Cody Bellinger singled in the final run.

“Once I got down 1-2, just staying alive,” Happ said. “He’s had a lot of success throughout his career, so I was just trying to find something I could handle. Good eyes in that at-bat.”

Craig Counsell after earned his first victory with the Cubs after 707 wins over nine seasons with Milwaukee.

“Great at-bats all over the ninth inning, for sure,” Counsell said. “Guys just being patient, kind of taking what was given to them at the start. Ian kind of getting down in the count and working that walk is obviously the big one. And then followed that up with some good at-bats to add some runs.”

Héctor Neris (1-0) pitched a one-hit eighth. Four Chicago relievers shut out Texas over the final five innings on two singles and one walk with seven strikeouts.

Rangers pitchers walked nine while allowing 12 hits.

Chicago was 4 for 14 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base. Texas was 3 for 12 and left nine on.

Christopher Morel hit a three-run homer in the first off Jon Gray, who allowed five runs — four earned — seven hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings.

Marcus Semien hit a two-run single in the second against Jordan Wicks. Happ had an RBI double in the fourth, with another run scoring for a 5-2 lead when center fielder Leody Taveras misplayed the ball for an error.

Semien hit an RBI double in the fourth and scored on rookie Wyatt Langford’s tying two-run triple that one-hopped the 410-foot sign in center.

Langford, hitting second in the order with Corey Seager given a day off, also made a sliding, snow-cone catch in his first major league game in the outfield.

“I put him in the two-hole, three-hole, five-hole, wherever, and it doesn’t faze him,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “So, good game by him.”

Wicks gave up five runs — two earned, — five hits and three walks in four innings. Cubs starters pitched 12 1/3 innings in the series.


Cubs: LHP Shota Imanaga will start the team’s home opener on Monday against Colorado RHP Dakota Hudson.

Rangers: RHP Dan Dunning will start Monday night’s game at Tampa Bay, where last year’s Rangers began an 11-0 postseason road run that culminated in their World Series title. Dunning will face RHP Ryan Pepiot, acquired in December from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Tyler Glasnow trade.


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