Davis saves No. 26 in Cubs victory

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Cubs' Ian Happ, left, celebrates with manager Joe Maddon after hitting a solo home run off Toronto Blue Jays' Nick Tepesch during the fourth inning on Saturday in Chicago.

    Chicago Cubs' Ian Happ, left, celebrates with manager Joe Maddon after hitting a solo home run off Toronto Blue Jays' Nick Tepesch during the fourth inning on Saturday in Chicago. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 8/19/2017 7:13 PM

When the Cubs lost Aroldis Chapman to free agency last off-season, GM Theo Epstein knew he needed to fill what would be a gaping hole at the back of his bullpen.

So Epstein sent promising outfielder Jorge Soler to Kansas City in exchange for Wade Davis, and to say the move worked out in the Cubs' favor might be the understatement of the year.

 

Davis saved his 26th straight game Saturday -- tying Ryan Dempster's team record -- and the Cubs squeaked out a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at Wrigley Field. Ian Happ, a day after going 0-for-4 with 4 strikeouts, went 2-for-3 with a homer and 2 RBI, and Anthony Rizzo plated Albert Almora Jr. with an RBI single in the seventh that gave the Cubs a 4-2 lead.

Starter Jose Quintana (4-2) allowed 2 runs on 4 hits and struck out 8 in 6 innings. It was his fifth quality start in seven outings since joining the Cubs (65-57).

Davis (2.32 ERA) has allowed just 1 hit in his last six appearances -- and that was a meaningless home run in a non-save situation at Arizona last Sunday.

"He's pitched well, but if you've been following closely, a lot of 25 and 30-pitch saves," said manager Joe Maddon. "He's getting sharp right now. That's the difference.

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He's nailed it (all season). There's nothing to complain about. Now he's pitching pretty close to his optimal level. From our perspective, don't overuse him because he's starting to feel it."

Waiver claim:

The Cubs claimed 34-year-old catcher Rene Rivera from the Mets on Saturday and designated pitcher Darren Brooks for assignment. Rivera will be added to the 25-man roster either Sunday or when the Cubs open a three-game series in Cincinnati on Tuesday.

"Very good defensive player, great reputation and he's got some pop too. He can hit a couple of home runs," manager Joe Maddon said of Rivera, who has a .230/.278/.391 hitting line with 8 HRs and 23 RBI in 174 at-bats this season. "That veteran presence, the depth that it provides is all good stuff."

When Rivera is added, the Cubs will likely send Victor Caratini to the minors.

Protest:

Manager Joe Maddon said he had no problem with major-league umpires wearing white wrist bands Saturday to protest verbal attacks against them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Any time somebody wants to protest about something I'm open minded about listening to the whole thing," Maddon said. "I just need more information to know what I think."

Around the horn:

Javier Baez is batting .322 (19-for-59) with 6 home runs and 16 RBI in his last 16 games. … The Cubs are 56-17 when scoring 4 or more runs. … Albert Almora Jr. (1-for-1 Saturday) is hitting .367 (11-for-30) as a pinch-hitter, the third-highest average in the majors. … Of the Cubs' 40 remaining games, 26 are against teams currently owning a record of .500 or below.

• Follow John on Twitter @johndietzdh

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