Jason Hammel’s outing on Memorial Day ended prematurely because of a leg cramp.
On Saturday afternoon, Hammel didn’t show any signs of discomfort as he pitched seven innings in the Cubs’ 5-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field. Hammel notched his seventh victory of the season in front of 40,415 fans.
The Cubs improved to 39-15 on the year and have now won 10 of their last 11 games.
Hammel got off to somewhat of a slow start, in large part due to the rain.
"My warm-up pitches in the first inning, I almost launched two to the backstop because it was coming down pretty good," Hammel said.
Early in the game, the Diamondbacks really went after the Cubs starter by working his pitch count.
Arizona opened the scoring in the first inning with a two-run homer by Jake Lamb. Hammel found himself in a few more jams in the next couple innings but was able to escape.
When the third ended, Hammel was already at 55 pitches, and his glove got an earful of his frustrations as he walked back to the dugout.
It seemed to work as Hammel was on point after that.
The veteran retired the next nine batters he faced and finished his outing allowing just one hit, two earned runs, two walks and six strikeouts on 96 pitches (62 strikes).
"I just tried to stay with it," Hammel said. "Try and command the ball in the strike zone, and then hopefully the rain would calm down. I just ended up finding a pretty good rhythm."
He even contributed at the plate.
The Cubs scored three runs in the fourth, two of which came from Hammel on a single that took a favorable bounce off second base and ricocheted into the outfield. That turned out to be the game-winner.
"I’m glad second base is where second base is because it helped, obviously," Hammel said. "I don’t know if (Diamondbacks second baseman Jean) Segura makes that play up the middle, but obviously it helped us out."
"Give Jason credit," Joe Maddon said. "He pitched really well under awkward circumstances with weather. Gives up an early home run (and) settles in. Outstanding. Plus he gets another big hit, how 'bout it?
"Another good day for Jason."
Dexter Fowler smacked his seventh homer of the season to lead off the first inning. In the fourth, Jorge Soler picked up an RBI with a ground-rule double.
The D-backs got things rolling in the eighth after a Yasmany Tomas solo homer. The Cubs needed three relievers to get out of the inning without allowing any more damage.
Anthony Rizzo tacked on an insurance run with a solo shot, his 13th of the season in the eighth inning.
The insurance run gave Hector Rondon enough breathing room to record his 10th save of the season, remaining perfect on the year.