Solid Blach subdues formidable Cubs

Solid Blach subdues formidable Cubs

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ty Blach delivered the kind of effort that should merit the San Francisco Giants left-hander some attention in the National League's Rookie of the Year balloting, as he pitched seven resolute innings and slapped an RBI single Tuesday to lead the San Francisco Giants past the Chicago Cubs, 6-3.

Blach (8-7), who won his second straight start, displayed his usual pitch-to-contact style. He struck out just three batters yet denied the reigning World Series champions any sustained offense. The Cubs went 1-for-6 off Blach with runners in scoring position. Chicago remained 1 1/2 games ahead of the Brewers in the National League Central standings after Milwaukee lost to the Twins, 11-4, on Tuesday.

Chicago entered the game with a Major League-best 19-7 record against left-handers. But that didn't faze Blach.

Blach's strong start

Explaining his approach, he said, "You understand what hitters are trying to do. You understand where they're trying to leverage pitches and just move the ball in and out, up and down, change speeds and try to get them to hit it the way you want them to hit it."

Buster Posey gave the Giants a 3-0 lead against Cubs starter Jose Quintana in the first inning with his 12th homer of the season, which followed Gorkys Hernandez's single and an error by Cubs shortstop Javier Baez on Hunter Pence's grounder. Crew chief Sam Holbrook called for a replay review of the home run, which confirmed the initial call. Blach widened the difference to 4-0 in the fourth with his two-out hit that scored Brandon Crawford.

Posey's three-run homer

Quintana (2-2) worked six innings, allowing four runs (three earned) and six hits. Kris Bryant and Ian Happ each had two-hit nights. Happ knocked in two of the Cubs' three runs, while Carl Edward Jr. pitched an inning of scoreless relief after a few rocky outings against the Nationals.

"[Posey's homer] wasn't killed. It was a fly ball to left field that happened to leave the ballpark. After that, I thought he started making better pitches. … He's a battler," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Quintana. "I love this guy. We just got off to a bad start and it was hard to recover. Their guy pitched well."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Blach backed by defense: The Cubs appeared to have a big inning on their hands when they roped back-to-back doubles after Anthony Rizzo grounded out in the sixth. With one out, Willson Contreras sent one over Pence's head in right and Ian Happ followed that up with a double to the right-center-field gap to score the Cubs catcher. But Blach quickly settled in, forcing back-to-back groundouts to escape the inning and preserve a two-run lead.

Happ's RBI double

Eighth is enough: The Cubs dented San Francisco's lead by scoring in the eighth on Happ's sacrifice fly, but Hunter Strickland prevented a bigger inning with some clutch relief pitching. Contreras advanced to second base on left fielder Jarrett Parker's throwing error that accompanied Happ's fly. That's when Strickland asserted himself, retiring the dangerous Kyle Schwarber on a popup.

Strickland ends threat in 8th

QUOTABLE
"We're playing like that .500 team we were in the first half and I don't like it. We've got to get sharper." -- Maddon, on his team's defensive miscues

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Cubs unsuccessfully challenged a play involving Posey's stolen base in the eighth. Posey darted to second for his fifth stolen base of the season. A replay review determined the call stands.

Posey joked that Crawford tried to keep up with him by stealing his third base of the season.

"I've already been talking smack about it," Posey said with mock seriousness. "And I told [Denard] Span I'm tied with him now, so he needs to step it up."

Posey swipes second

WHAT'S NEXT
Cubs: Kyle Hendricks, in his third start since returning from the disabled list, takes the bump in the Cubs' 2:45 p.m. CT contest against the Giants in San Francisco. The right-hander owns a 2.70 ERA in his last three starts and is 2-2 with a 3.80 ERA in four starts all time against San Francisco.

Giants: The team's stretch of 18 home games in 24 dates ends Wednesday with a 12:45 p.m. PT encounter against the Cubs at AT&T Park. Madison Bumgarner, who has thrived against the Cubs (8-2, 2.25 ERA in 12 lifetime starts), will take the ball for the Giants.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

Jonathan Hawthorne is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Cubs on Tuesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.