Schwindel ruins Ryan’s debut, Cubs shut down Twins hitters in 3-0 win
Frank Schwindel hit a three-run homer and a pair of Chicago Cubs pitchers combined on a two-hitter in a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.
Justin Steele (3-2) won for the first time since joining the Cubs’ rotation on Aug. 10. The rookie left-hander gave up one hit, walked three and struck out three over five innings, lowering his ERA to 3.48.
Adbert Alzolay worked the final four innings to earn his first career save. He allowed one hit and struck out five.
Schwindel’s drive in the third was all the Cubs mustered against U.S. Olympic pitcher Joe Ryan (0-1), making his major league debut for the Twins.
Ryan was acquired from Tampa Bay as part of the Nelson Cruz trade on July 22. He was in Tokyo at the time, competing for Team USA in the Olympic Games. Ryan allowed two earned runs over 10 1/3 innings in two Olympic starts, helping the United States to a sliver medal.
When he returned home, Ryan was assigned to Triple-A St. Paul, where he made two starts, striking out 17 and walking two in nine innings.
Ryan retired the first six batters he faced, but ran into trouble in the third. After issuing a leadoff walk to Alfonso Rivas, Ryan fanned Sergio Alcántara before Andrew Romine doubled to put runners on second and third. Rafael Ortega flied to short center for the second out, but Schwindel launched a three-run homer to left field.
Ryan retired the Cubs in order in each of his other four innings. He allowed three hits, walked one and struck out five in five innings.
A trio of Twins relievers blanked the Cubs the rest of the way.
Cubs: INF Matt Duffy was scratched from the starting lineup due to right neck stiffness. … Alzolay and RHP Dillon Maples were activated from the 10-day injured list. Maples had been out since July 29 with a blister on his right middle finger. Alzolay went on the injured list Aug. 14 with a left hamstring strain.
Twins: RHP Kenta Maeda had Tommy John surgery in Dallas.
Cubs: RHP Keegan Thompson (3-3, 3.09 ERA) will be on the mound Thursday at Wrigley Field as the Cubs begin a four-game series with the Pirates. Thompson entered the rotation on Aug. 21 but has pitched just six innings over two starts.
Twins: RHP Randy Dobnak (1-6, 7.83 ERA) returns to the rotation as the Twins start a three-game set at Tampa Bay on Friday. Dobnak will be making his first appearance for Minnesota since June 19. He missed the past two months with a right middle finger strain.