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Bellinger hits 3-run homer in the 7th, Neris struggles again in 9th before Cubs beat Rays 4-3

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Cody Bellinger hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning, and the Chicago Cubs held off the Tampa Bay Rays for a 4-3 victory Wednesday night.

Cubs closer Héctor Neris allowed José Caballero’s solo homer in the ninth before earning his 10th save in 13 chances. The right-hander allowed a single to Ben Rortvedt and walked Taylor Walls with one out before getting a fielder's choice grounder from Yandy Díaz and a flyball from Brandon Lowe.

Neris was tagged for a season-high four runs in the ninth in Tuesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rays, including Lowe’s game-ending homer.

“Héctor is going to compete, you can count on that,” Cubs manager Craig Counsell said. “Things aren’t going right, you just got to keep making pitches and you got to have a really short memory in that job, right? We know Hector is going to do that."

Rays manager Kevin Cash said Lowe was probably the right guy to have up in that situation.

“It's interesting how that inning unfolded with what took place last night,” Cash said. “Got a splitter and just missed it.”

Seiya Suzuki also went deep for the Cubs, who are 6-13 since May 22.

Tyson Miller (1-0) got the win by striking out two in a perfect 1 1/3 innings. Since being acquired in a trade with Seattle on May 14, the righty has given up one earned run in 10 1/3 innings.

Tampa Bay got also a homer from Jose Siri. The Rays have lost 14 of 21.

Garrett Cleavinger (4-1) replaced Aaron Civale with one on and two outs in the seventh. After hitting pinch-hitter Patrick Wisdom, the lefty allowed Bellinger's ninth homer.

“Definitely felt amazing,” Bellinger said. “I was frustrated with my previous at-bat. Got another opportunity and didn't want it to happen again."

Bellinger struck out to end the fifth with two on.

“Three-run homers change games, and that swing certainly changed the game,” Counsell said. “It was a big swing at a time we need it.”

Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead on Siri’s solo homer off Javier Assad in the fourth. Siri had been 0 for 11 with eight strikeouts in his previous three games before getting a second-inning double.

Suzuki tied it at 1 on his eighth homer during the fourth.

Civale, on his 29th birthday, had his winless start streak reach 11. He allowed one run and five hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Assad gave up two runs and five hits over 4 2/3 innings.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: INF Nico Hoerner (small right-hand fracture) returned to the starting lineup and went 1 for 4 with two steals. The Cubs had six steals overall.

Rays: LF Randy Arozarena (right hamstring tightness) pinch-hit for the second straight game. Cash said he will start on Thursday. ... LHP Jeffrey Springs (Tommy John surgery) gave up one hit and struck out three in two scoreless innings for Triple-A Durham in his second start since being shut down May 25 due to lat tightness.

UP NEXT

Cubs LHP Justin Steele (0-3, 4.06 ERA) and Rays RHP Taj Bradley (1-4, 5.17 ERA) are Thursday night’s starters.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB

Mark Didtler, The Associated Press