Baez, Quintana, Happ and bullpen star as Cubs hold on for 4-3 victory

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Cubs manager Joe Maddon said infielder Javy Baez’s short-term memory is the reason he will thrive in the majors.

‘‘He doesn’t carry a bad moment to the next moment,’’ Maddon said Saturday.

Short-term memory was the theme of the day as the Cubs scratched out a 4-3 victory against the Blue Jays at Wrigley Field.

Jose Quintana rebounded nicely from a five-inning, four-walk outing, Ian Happ recovered from an 0-for-4, four-strikeout game in a big way and the Cubs’ bullpen put a shaky effort Friday behind it by pitching three innings without allowing an earned run.

And Baez again dazzled on defense with a gem of a play in the ninth inning that helped preserve the victory.

Happ has had a rocky second half, but he seems to be rediscovering his groove as the National League Central race heats up. He hit two home runs in a loss Thursday to the Reds and hit a solo shot Saturday.

Happ played a part in three of the Cubs’ four runs, singling in Jon Jay in the first, homering in the fourth and scoring in the sixth.

‘‘The game ebbs and flows all the time,’’ Happ said. ‘‘That’s why it is a beautiful game and a terrible game at the same time. You are
going to have your good weeks [and] your bad weeks, good days and bad days. Being able to stay even and keep fighting through it is important.’’

Maddon compared Happ’s growth in the majors to Baez’s. Both, he said, have done a nice job of learning by observing. Neither player complains, both stay ready at all times and they execute when they’re called on.

Happ has 18 homers in his first 80 major-league games. The only other Cubs player in the last 100 years to do that is Kyle Schwarber.

‘‘It’s a big adjustment [to the majors],’’ first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. ‘‘[Happ] keeps adjusting and getting better virtually every day.’’

The early lead Happ provided with his RBI in the first was erased by a two-run single by Raffy Lopez in the fourth.

That was the only costly mistake by Quintana, who pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the second. He had eight strikeouts and three 1-2-3 innings among the six he pitched.

Quintana has five quality starts in seven outings with the Cubs. He has allowed six hits or fewer in each of his last 14 starts, the longest such streak in the majors.

‘‘It was really better than my last time,’’ Quintana said of his command. ‘‘I tried to get quick outs, tried to get longer in the game. [It] felt better than last time, and I’m happy with my command.’’

The Cubs were clinging to a one-run lead in the ninth when Ryan Goins hit a hard grounder to the hole between shortstop Baez and third baseman Kris Bryant. The ball eluded a diving Bryant, but an off-balance Baez scooped it up and threw to Rizzo for the out.

‘‘He is talented,’’ Rizzo said of Baez, who drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single that gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead in the sixth. ‘‘He really is. It’s fun for everyone when he makes those plays. Obviously, they’re not routine at all, and he makes it look easy.’’

Wade Davis notched his 26th save in 26 chances, tying Ryan Dempster for the longest save streak in franchise history.

Follow me on Twitter @davidjustCST.


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