Shota Imanaga continues strong start to major league career as Cubs top Mariners 4-1


SEATTLE — Shota Imanaga allowed one unearned run over 5 1/3 innings, Michael Busch homered in his third straight game and the Chicago Cubs beat the Seattle Mariners 4-1 on Saturday night.

Seiya Suzuki and Miguel Amaya also hit solo home runs for the Cubs. But the focus was on Imanaga (2-0) continuing the excellent start to his major league career and some timely defense from third baseman Christopher Morel in the sixth to keep the Cubs in front.

Morel made consecutive outstanding plays with runners in scoring position, first diving to stop Mitch Garver’s hard grounder from getting down the left-field line and then leaping to snag Dylan Moore’s line drive.

The two plays by Morel helped get Chicago out of trouble after Imanaga walked the first two batters in the inning. The left-hander has gone 15 1/3 innings without giving up an earned run. He allowed five hits, struck out four and walked two.

Mark Leiter Jr., Yency Almonte, Hector Neris and Adbert Alzolay permitted just two baserunners in 3 2/3 innings of relief. Alzolay earned his second save.

Busch ran his home run streak to three games by hitting a solo shot off reliever Tyson Miller in the seventh.

Suzuki’s homer came on the first pitch he saw from Seattle starter Emerson Hancock (1-2) with two outs in the third. Amaya homered off reliever Austin Voth in the eighth.

Hancock rebounded after getting knocked around in his last start. He allowed two runs on four hits and struck out four.

Seattle got to Imanaga in the second inning after Mitch Haniger reached on an error by Busch at first base. Haniger scored on Luis Urías’ two-out double, but Imanaga stranded runners at second and third by striking out Seby Zavala.

The stadium became smoky during the fifth inning after a car caught fire on a roadway outside the ballpark and the breeze pushed the smoke into the stadium.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: RHP Jameson Taillon (back) threw 3 2/3 innings and 68 pitches on Friday in a rehab outing with Triple-A Iowa. His next start is expected to come with the Cubs, manager Craig Counsell said. Taillon is expected to meet the team in Arizona on Monday, although it’s unclear when he will slot back into the rotation.

UP NEXT

Cubs: RHP Javier Assad (1-0, 1.64 ERA) allowed two runs over five innings in his last start against San Diego. He threw six shutout innings in his first start of the season.

Mariners: RHP Luis Castillo (0-3, 6.89) has allowed four earned runs in each of his first three starts. Castillo has yet to finish six innings and has lost three straight decisions for the first time since last June.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb



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