CHICAGO — Pitching only 8 miles from where he grew up, Mike Bolsinger had more nerves than usual when he stepped on the mound at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs.
In front of about 20 family and friends, some of whom he hadn’t seen in a long time after his family moved away when he was 10 years old, Bolsinger delivered exactly what the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks needed.
Bolsinger earned his first major league win, pitching into the seventh inning and hitting an RBI single as Arizona beat the Cubs 5-2 on Thursday.
“Every once in a while I’d look over and see my friends and family cheering me on,” Bolsinger said. “It was good to get the first win, but I think it was a lot better to get a big team win, especially two in a row now. Hopefully that gets something started with this club and we can keep it rolling.”
Bolsinger (1-1) allowed one unearned run and four hits in 62⁄3 innings. He struck out seven and walked two.
Bolsinger was given the traditional beer shower by his teammates to celebrate his first win.
Addison Reed got his fifth save in six chances with a perfect ninth, and the Diamondbacks won consecutive games for only the second time this season.
After the game, Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero defended manager Kirk Gibson and general manager Kevin Towers against critical comments about them and the team’s 7-18 start.
Montero, unprovoked, said the staff doesn’t deserve any blame for Arizona’s record.
“They’ve been coming here with the best attitude and the best intentions, and they’ve been pushing us hard, very positive,” Montero said. “I wanted to say that because the blame should be on us, should be on the players. We haven’t played the way we’re supposed to play. I wanted to take that off my chest.”
Montero hit a two-out double in the first inning off Edwin Jackson (1-2) for a 1-0 lead. Montero also had an RBI single in the eighth off reliever Jose Veras.
The Cubs got that early run back right away in the bottom of the first. Leadoff man Emilio Bonifacio stretched a hit up the middle into a hustle double, which was reviewed when it appeared he was tagged out when he overslid the base. After a lengthy replay review, the call stood.
Following a walk, Bonifacio scored on left fielder Roger Kieschnick’s error on a line drive by Anthony Rizzo.
The Cubs went on to load the bases with one out on a walk, but Bolsinger struck out Mike Olt looking and got Welington Castillo to fly out.
“It was a tough (road) trip, going 3-4 on it,” Gibson said. “We’d like to do better than that. We’re in a very tough time, and we’re pressing very hard. It seemed like we came out more relaxed today and they’re feeling better about themselves.”
Cliff Pennington walked in the Arizona second and scored on Tony Campana’s double. Bolsinger singled for a 3-1 lead.
“Early in the game, it felt like I was rushing a little bit,” Jackson said. “It was one of those days when you feel like you don’t have your best stuff so you try to make it happen. You just have to take a step back and slow the game down. I let it come to me, tried to go out and take it.”
Despite throwing 40 pitches through two innings, Jackson settled down and posted his longest outing since Sept. 10. He allowed five hits while walking two and striking out four in seven innings.
Rizzo hit a solo home run in the eighth, his third of the season.
NOTES — Diamondbacks outfielder Mark Trumbo (stress fracture in left foot) was placed on the 15-day disabled list, and Kieschnick was recalled from Triple-A Reno. Kieschnick made his Diamondbacks debut Thursday, starting in left field and going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. ... Outfielder A.J. Pollock (neck stiffness) was not in the starting lineup for a fourth consecutive game. Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said he was much improved but not where they’d like him to be. ... Cubs top pitching prospect C.J. Edwards was in Chicago on Thursday to get his shoulder examined after he experienced fatigue in a bullpen session.