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Baez, Hamels lead Cubs past Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Javier Baez went deep, Cole Hamels pitched six strong innings and the Chicago Cubs beat the Kansas City Royals 3-1 on Monday night.

Baez hit the first pitch from reliever Kevin McCarthy (4-4) in the sixth inning to center for his 25th home run, putting the Cubs ahead 2-1.

Baez doubled in the eighth to score Jason Heyward, upping his RBI total to an NL-leading 88.

Hamels (7-9) is 2-0 since the Cubs acquired him in a July 27 trade with the Texas Rangers. He allowed one run and seven hits.

Alcides Escobar’s two-out second-inning single scored Rosell Herrera for the first earned run Hamels allowed at Kauffman Stadium in four career starts, covering 21 2/3 innings.

Royals starter Jakob Junis worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth. Ben Zobrist and Heyward hit ground ball outs to end the inning.

The Royals loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the inning, but Hamels retired Hunter Dozier on a grounder to first baseman Anthony Rizzo on a full-count pitch.

Junis was removed after five innings and 87 pitches, allowing one run and five hits while striking out eight, one shy of his career high.

Zobrist led off the fourth with a triple and scored on Junis’ wild pitch.

Cubs relievers Steve Cishek, Brandon Kintzler and Pedro Strop limited the Royals to one single over the final three innings. Strop earned his eighth save in 11 chances, working a spotless ninth.

The Royals have lost five straight and are tied with the Baltimore Orioles for the worst record in the majors at 34-78.

Rain delayed the game 22 minutes in the fourth.

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