CHICAGO (AP)Ramon Urias hit a two-run homer and made a big defensive play, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Chicago Cubs 4-2 on Tuesday night for their ninth straight victory.
Jorge Mateo also homered as Baltimore (44-44) reached .500 for the first time this season. It’s the longest win streak for the Orioles since the franchise won 13 straight in September 1999.
”The last couple of seasons didn’t go well; a lot of losses,” Urias said. ”And, of course we’re enjoying this time.”
Baltimore right-hander Jordan Lyles (6-7) pitched seven innings of two-run ball in his second straight win. Jorge Lopez, the Orioles’ lone All-Star selection, worked the ninth for his 17th save in 21 chances.
”We’re playing baseball all around,” Lyles said. ”Some games we’re throwing it lights out; some days we’re mashing it, getting extra-base hits one after the other. That’s the sign of a good team.”
All-Star Ian Happ homered for Chicago, which dropped its fifth in a row. Adrian Sampson (0-1) allowed three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Baltimore trailed 2-1 in the fourth before Urias almost cleared the left-field bleachers with a two-run drive for his seventh homer.
The Cubs trailed 3-2 in the sixth and had Seiya Suzuki at third with one out. But Urias gloved Nico Hoerner’s liner inches off the ground and trotted to third to complete the double play.
Mateo went deep in the seventh against Brandon Hughes. It was his seventh homer of the season.
”They’re probably the most aggressive team in baseball,” Cubs manager David Ross said. ”They’re going to come out swinging and they did. A couple of early-count fastball homers was the difference in the game.”
The Orioles went 52-110 last season. According to STATS, they are the second big league team in history to lose 110-plus games one season and then have at least a nine-game win streak the following year. The Louisville Colonels went 27-111 in 1889 before posting win streaks of 12, 11 and 10 games in 1890.
Baltimore claimed right-hander Louis Head off waivers from Miami earlier in the day and optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk. Left-hander Kirk McCarty was designated for assignment.
Cubs left-hander Justin Steele came off the paternity list a day after he and his wife welcomed a son. He is scheduled to start on Wednesday. Right-hander Anderson Espinoza was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.
Orioles: Austin Hays was back in right field after missing Sunday’s 9-5 win against the Angels with a sore right wrist. Manager Brandon Hyde said the injury hasn’t fully resolved itself but Hays will play through it.
RHP Spenser Watkins (2-1, 4.15 ERA) faces Steele (3-5, 4.13 ERA) in Wednesday’s finale of the two-game series.
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