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Cubs cap sweep as Quintana sparkles

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Photographs by AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jose Quintana throws to the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning of a baseball game in Baltimore, Sunday, July 16, 2017.

BALTIMORE — Jose Quintana is well aware of the lofty expectations that came with his trade to the Chicago Cubs.

He certainly impressed his new teammates in his debut.

Quintana struck out a season-high 12 in seven sharp innings and the Cubs beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-0 Sunday for a three-game sweep.

“It was my first outing with the Cubs, but after the first inning, I felt really good,” Quintana said. “I threw everything in the first inning and just focused on making quick outs.”

Acquired by the defending World Series champions during the All-Star break from the Chicago White Sox for a playoff push, Quintana gave the Cubs exactly the kind of boost they hoped to get.

“It could really be a big boon to us, there’s no question,” Chicago Manager Joe Maddon said. “Everybody else saw it.”

The lefty allowed three hits, walked none and joined Matt Garza as the only pitchers in Cubs history to strike out 12 in their debut.

Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo hit home runs to help the Cubs move over .500 for the first time since June 29. The Cubs hit 10 home runs during the sweep at Camden Yards.

Chicago took advantage of another wild start by Ubaldo Jimenez (4-5) and opened a 4-0 lead in the second. Willson Contreras added a career-high four hits.

The Cubs traded their top two prospects, outfielder Eloy Jimenez and righthander Dylan Cease, along with infielders Matt Rose and Bryant Flete, to get Quintana. He was 4-8 with a 4.49 ERA for the White Sox.

CUBS 8, ORIOLES 0

Chicago began the day 5 1/2 games behind in the races for the NL Central and second wild-card spot.

“We’re playing a world champion team that everyone knew was going to get going at some point,” Orioles Manager Buck Showalter said. “Unfortunately, they started here. They’re on the top of their game. They have a lot of good pieces. We were not up to the challenge.”

Quintana retired nine consecutive batters until Adam Jones led off the fourth with a double. This was the 10th time in his career, and third this season, he fanned at least 10.

Ian Happ had a two-run double and scored on Jason Heyward’s single in the second. Heyward stole second and scored the fourth run on a two-out single by Ben Zobrist.

A two-run home run by Bryant, his 19th, boosted the margin to 6-0 in the fourth.

Jimenez allowed 6 runs and 11 hits, 1 shy of tying a career-high, over 3 2/3 innings. He has not pitched past the fifth inning in four of his past five starts.

Rizzo hit his 22nd home run in the ninth off Darren O’Day.

“I really believe if we play with that kind of internal fire, that kind of energy we’ll win a lot of games in the second half,” Maddon said.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

DODGERS 3, MARLINS 2 Justin Turner hit a home run and singled to increase his batting average to .374, and visiting Los Angeles won for the 29th time in 33 games, including nine in a row. Five Los Angeles pitchers combined for 16 strikeouts with no walks.

NATIONALS 14, REDS 4 Daniel Murphy hit two of visiting Washington’s five home runs and had five RBI. Adam Lind and Jose Lobaton added two-run shots and Anthony Rendon had a solo homer, his third home run in two games, to help the Nationals to their fourth consecutive victory. ROCKIES 13, METS 4 Ian Desmond provided an instant spark for the slumping Rockies in his return from the disabled list, and Nolan Arenado hit one of visiting Colorado’s three home runs. Charlie Blackmon was credited with an inside-the-park home run — even though his drive actually cleared the orange line atop left-center field fence.

BRAVES 7, DIAMONDBACKS 1 Matt Kemp hit a three-run home run and Brandon Phillips doubled three times as host Atlanta completed a three-game sweep and sent Arizona to its season-high fifth consecutive loss. Jaime Garcia (3-7) allowed 1 run and 4 hits in 7 innings as the Braves (45-45) reached .500 for the first time since April 17.

PIRATES 4, CARDINALS 3 Adam Frazier’s game-ending single capped a two-run rally in the ninth against Brett Cecil (1-3), who also gave up Jordy Mercer’s RBI double. Wade LeBlanc (4-2) pitched a hitless ninth for the host Pirates.

PHILLIES 5, BREWERS 2 Rookie Nick Williams hit his first career grand slam — on lefty reliever Tyler Webb’s first pitch since he was acquired Thursday from the Yankees for minor league first baseman Garrett Cooper. Jeremy Hellickson (6-5) struck out six and allowed four hits and two runs over five innings for the visiting Phillies.

PADRES 7, GIANTS 1 Hector Sanchez and Corey Spangenberg each hit a three-run home run off Jeff Samardzija (4-11), who allowed 7 runs and 9 hits in 6 innings. Trevor Cahill (4-3) allowed 1 run and 8 hits in 6 2/3 innings for the host Padres.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

YANKEES 3-0, RED SOX 0-3 Mookie Betts hit a two-run home run and Jackie Bradley Jr. went over the bullpen wall to steal one from Aaron Judge, helping David Price shut down New York and giving host Boston a split of the day-night doubleheader. Price (5-2) pitched 8 innings, allowing 7 hits and striking out 8.

TIGERS 6, BLUE JAYS 5 (11) Miguel Cabrera walked with the bases loaded in the 11th inning, giving the host Tigers the victory. Warwick Saupold (2-1) got the victory with a scoreless 11th.

MARINERS 7, WHITE SOX 6 (11) Nelson Cruz homered on a 3-0 pitch from Chris Beck (1-1) leading off the 10th inning, his 19th home run this season, as visiting Seattle overcame a 5-0 deficit and won its fourth consecutive. Chicago has lost four in a row.

ASTROS 5, TWINS 3 Mike Fiers (6-4) struck out a season-high 11 over 7 innings for the host Astros, while allowing 2 runs and 4 hits. Kyle Gibson (5-8) yielded 4 runs and 6 hits in 6-plus innings for the Twins.

ROYALS 4, RANGERS 3 Texas right fielder Shin-Soo Choo lost Lorenzo Cain’s routine fly in the sun, and the ball glanced off his glove for a tiebreaking RBI single with two outs in the ninth as host Kansas City stooped a five-game losing streak overall and a 12-game skid against Texas. ANGELS 4, RAYS 3 Pinch-hitter C.J. Cron connected for a tiebreaking, two-run home run in the eighth off Adam Kolarek after Andrelton Simmons singled against Jumbo Diaz (1-4) for the host Angels. Bud Norris got Tim Beckham to ground into a double play for his 14th save, ending Tampa Bay’s four-game winning streak. ATHLETICS 7, INDIANS 3 Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer got just two outs in a four-run first inning and matched the shortest start of his big league career as the host Oakland completed a three-game sweep of AL Central-leading Cleveland.

Sports on 07/17/2017

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