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Cubs hold off late rally, defeat Dodgers 9-7 in series opener

Cubs hold off late rally, defeat Dodgers 9-7 in series opener originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Seiya Suzuki had three RBIs and Michael Busch homered against his former team, helping the Chicago Cubs beat Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-7 on Friday.

Dansby Swanson also connected as Chicago earned its fifth consecutive win after dropping its first two games of the season. Ian Happ added a key two-run triple on a windy, sun-splashed afternoon, and Nick Madrigal had two hits.

“It's a really good start offensively for us,” Cubs manager Craig Counsell said. “Just the at-bats throughout the lineup, that's going to produce runs. Just tough at-bats, and it's certainly something that's fun to watch.”

Suzuki got the better of Ohtani in the opener of a weekend series that features four of the majors' best Japanese players. Ohtani hit a two-run homer in his first career game at Wrigley Field, but Suzuki lined a two-run double during Chicago's five-run second inning and lofted a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto pitches for Los Angeles on Saturday, and Shota Imanaga makes his second start for Chicago on Sunday.

“I think it all started with all the other Japanese players that came before us,” Suzuki said through a translator. “They made the transition for us to be able to come over here as well. So trying to show a lot of appreciation to them.”

Ohtani did not speak with the media after the game.

Teoscar Hernández had three hits and four RBIs for Los Angeles, which had won four in a row and six of seven overall. Will Smith had four hits and Freddie Freeman scored three runs in the Dodgers' first true road game of the season.

Los Angeles right-hander Bobby Miller (1-1) was tagged for five runs and four hits in 1 2/3 innings on his 25th birthday. Miller grew up in McHenry, Illinois, about 50 miles northwest of Chicago.

“I just was kind of just guiding my off-speed to the plate,” Miller said. “I wasn't really ripping it like I normally do. So it's just something I am going to work on in my next 'pen out of the stretch.”

Drew Smyly (1-1) worked 2 2/3 innings for the win. Adbert Alzolay got three outs for his first save of the season.

The Dodgers put runners on second and third with two out in the ninth, but Busch snared James Outman's liner to first with a diving catch -- the finale in an impressive defensive performance by the Cubs' infielders.

“This is a tough lineup to get through. It presents serious challenges," Counsell said. "You need to make plays at some point and we did that today.”

Busch's solo drive to right lifted the Cubs to a 6-2 lead in the third. Busch was acquired in a January trade with Los Angeles.

The Dodgers responded with three runs in the fifth against Kyle Hendricks. Ohtani homered for the second straight game, and Smith added an RBI double.

The Cubs got some breathing room when Happ's sinking sixth-inning liner to right went under the glove of a charging Hernández, driving in Nico Hoerner and Yan Gomes. Happ then scored on Suzuki's sacrifice fly.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: OF Jason Heyward, who was placed on the 10-day injured list on Wednesday, said his back tightness had been bothering him when he was coming off the bench. But he said rest has been helpful. “On a day where you have to get up and down a few times and be ready for your spot, that doesn't help, with a tight back,” he said. ... RHP Walker Buehler (elbow surgery) is slated to make his second rehab start with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday. Manager Dave Roberts said he will throw around 70 pitches. ... RHP Blake Treinen (bruised lung) is throwing again, but Roberts said he is “still at least a few weeks away.”

Cubs: LHP Justin Steele (left hamstring strain) has been able to keep throwing after he got hurt on opening day. He is expected to miss at least a month. “He did a kind of simulated catch up-down on his start day Wednesday, but beyond that, we're still at the same timeframe,” Counsell said.

UP NEXT

Dodgers right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Cubs left-hander Jordan Wicks take the mound on Saturday. Yamamoto (0-1, 7.50 ERA) tossed five scoreless innings in a no-decision against St. Louis last weekend. Wicks (0-0, 4.50 ERA) is making his second start of the season after he surrendered two earned runs in four innings at Texas on Sunday.

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