Baez blasts 2 HR as Cubs beat Pirates 13-5

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18: Javier Baez #9 of the Chicago Cubs hits a home run in the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game four of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 18, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

CHICAGO (AP) — Javier Baez homered twice for the second straight day and scored the go-ahead run on a daring dash around the bases, helping the Chicago Cubs pound the Pittsburgh Pirates 13-5 on Wednesday.

Kris Bryant added three hits and two RBIs as Chicago got its first home win in the first night game at Wrigley Field this season. Albert Almora Jr. also had three hits and Ben Zobrist drove in two runs in the Cubs’ highest scoring performance in their first 11 games.

Baez belted a three-run shot to right-center against Steven Brault in the second and connected against Dovydas Neverauskas in the eighth, sending a solo drive to back of the bleachers in left. The crowd of 35,596 chanted “Ja-vy! Ja-vy!” after he rounded the bases, and he obliged the cheers with a curtain call.

Baez also hit two solo homers in Tuesday’s 8-5 loss in the series opener. The dynamic infielder became the first player with consecutive multihomer games for the Cubs since Alfonso Soriano from May 16-17, 2008.

Pittsburgh had won four of five for its first 8-2 start since 1992. Sean Rodriguez belted a three-run homer and David Freese connected for a solo shot, but the game got away from the Pirates during the Cubs’ four-run sixth.

Baez struck out swinging leading off the inning against Tyler Glasnow (0-1), but he reached safely when the ball got past catcher Francisco Cervelli for a wild pitch. He advanced on Jason Heyward’s bouncer to first and then swiped third with pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella at the plate.

Pittsburgh then brought its infield in and La Stella hit a grounder to second baseman Josh Harrison. Baez broke for the plate and Harrison’s throw was wild as Chicago grabbed a 5-4 lead.

The Cubs poured it on from there. Zobrist capped the sixth-inning outburst with a two-run single back up the middle. Pinch-hitter Ian Happ connected for a two-run homer in the seventh, and Bryant tacked on his second RBI double of the game.

Brian Duensing (1-0) pitched a perfect sixth for the win.

Rodriguez’s massive drive to center off Jon Lester put Pittsburgh in front in the second, but Chicago responded with four in the bottom half against Steven Brault. Zobrist scored on a wild pitch before Baez went deep for his third of the season.