Happ continues to deliver for Chicago Cubs

The switch-hitting center fielder homered.

Mickey Mantle mashed 536 homers, most in baseball history by a player who swung the bat both left-handed and right-handed.

Ian Happ figures to never match "The Mick" or even be compared to the legend, but the Cubs' switch-hitting center fielder did make history for the second game in a row Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

Batting lefty, Happ sent Chad Kuhl's second pitch of the game deep to right field for a leadoff home run. It appeared to be the start of another promising game for the Cubs, who led the Pirates 6-5 heading into the bottom of the eighth when rain suspended play. After a 1-hour, 11-minute delay, Ke'Bryan Hayes, making his big-league debut, greeted Cubs reliever Dan Winkler with a game-tying homer.

The Cubs prevailed 8-7 in 11 innings, with Happ driving in the winning run with his third hit of the game and Jeremy Jeffress recording the final five outs for the victory.

For Happ, it was the 60th homer of his career, making the ninth overall pick of the 2015 draft the Cubs' all-time leader by a switch hitter. Two days earlier, Happ and corner outfielders Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward each hit 2 home runs during a 10-1 victory at Cincinnati. It was the first time a trio of outfielders on the same team pulled off the feat in the recorded history of MLB.

Switch-hitting outfielder Augie Galan hit 59 homers during his Cubs career from 1934-1941.

Schwarber matched Happ for the Cubs' home run lead with his 10th, a 2-run bomb in the fifth, to hike the visitors' lead to 6-1, before Jon Lester unraveled in the Pittsburgh sixth. The 36-year-old lefty allowed 3 straight hits, including a pair of RBI doubles. Lester left after surrendering an RBI double to ninth-place hitter Jose Osuna.

Happ helped reliever Colin Rea prevent further damage by making a diving catch to rob Erik Gonzalez. Lester was charged with 5 runs in 5⅓ innings.

Struggling Kyle Ryan pitched a scoreless inning with 2 strikeouts in the Pirates' seventh.

Another encouraging sign was Javier Baez. He lined out to right in the first, flied out to the center-field wall in the third and roped an RBI double in the Cubs' 3-run fifth. Baez also nearly pulled off two defensive gems from his shortstop position, only to have Gonzalez and Colin Moran leg out hits.

With St. Louis winning Tuesday night, the division-leading Cubs were not able to extend their 3-game lead over the Cardinals in the National League Central with 25 games left in the regular season.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.