CHICAGO (AP) — Cody Bellinger hit two home runs and Justin Steele pitched six strong innings as the Chicago Cubs downed the Kansas City Royals 6-4 on Saturday.
The Cubs (63-59) went into the afternoon 3 1/2 games back from the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers after falling back in the division on Friday.
Bellinger belted two opposite field home runs in the first three innings to give the Cubs an early 4-1 lead. His 20 homers in 2023 are his highest single-season total since he won MVP in 2019 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bellinger finished the day 2 for 3 with 4 RBI and 2 runs.
Steele (14-3) won his fifth game in his last six decisions after allowing two runs on six hits. Adbert Alzolay converted his 16th save in 17 chances this season to close it out in the ninth.
Kansas City (40-85) only scored two runs through the first six frames until Bobby Witt Jr. knocked in Drew Waters to close the gap to 6-3 in the seventh. Kyle Isabel doubled home Salvador Pérez in the 8th for their final run on the afternoon.
Witt Jr. went 3 for 5 with an RBI and a run, while Pérez finished the day 2 for 3 and scored two runs.
Outside of Bellinger, Chicago scored two runs on sacrifice flies from Seiya Suzuki and Ian Happ. All of the Cubs’ runs came off of Royals starter Brady Singer (8-9), who gave up six runs (four earned) on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings of work.
Chicago has now won 21 of its last 30 games.
Chicago’s annual Air and Water Show commenced as multiple planes soared over Wrigley Field during the game.
Cubs: Catcher Tucker Barnhart was designated for assignment while infielder Miles Mastrobuoni was recalled from Triple-A Iowa in a corresponding move.
Royals: Infielder Maikel Garcia wasn’t in the lineup after being removed in the fourth inning of yesterday’s contest. Manager Matt Quatraro said before the game Garcia is dealing with upper body soreness on his left side and remains day to day. Garcia was available off the bench today.
Cubs: RHP Nick Burdi (appendectomy recovery) threw 26 pitches in an appearance for Triple-A Iowa on Friday.
RHP Jordan Lyles (3-13, 6.30 ERA) will take the bump for the Royals on Sunday while RHP Kyle Hendricks (4-6, 4.00) is slated to start for the Cubs.