Christopher Morel slugs a solo HR for the Cubs
Christopher Morel slugs a solo HR for the Cubs (Credit: )

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BALTIMORE -- — Shota Imanaga outdueled Corbin Burnes in a matchup of All-Star pitchers, and Christopher Morel homered to help the Chicago Cubs beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-0 on Wednesday night. Imanaga (8-2) allowed six hits over six innings, striking out six with one walk. The Orioles went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position against the left-hander. “They have some really good hitters,” Imanaga said through an interpreter. “And going against Corbin Burnes, there's a lot I can learn from him.” Imanaga is the first Cubs rookie to be selected to play in the All-Star Game since Kris Bryant in 2015 and the first Japanese-born Cub to make the team since Kosuke Fukudome in 2018. Burnes (9-4) gave up three runs and nine hits over six innings, walking none and striking out five. Next week he will be heading to Texas for his fourth All-Star Game, the first with Baltimore. The right-hander pitched well enough, but Chicago found a way to scratch out enough runs to win. “We did a nice job,” Cubs manager Craig Counsell said. “Mo took a big swing with the home run and we did a nice job putting together a couple rallies. (Burnes is) a good pitcher. We got three runs off him, and we pitched wonderfully.” The Cubs, who came to town with a 3-10-1 record in road series, now are in position to complete a three-game sweep of the AL East-leading Orioles on Thursday night. Morel put Chicago up 1-0 with his 16th homer of the season in the second inning. The next two batters singled before Nico Hoerner delivered an RBI single. Michael Busch doubled and scored on a single by Seiya Suzuki in the fifth for a 3-0 lead. Baltimore put runners on second and third with one out in the sixth before Imanaga completed his impressive outing by striking out Austin Hays and Jorge Mateo. “The sixth inning was great. He just bore down,” Counsell said. “That was a heck of a way to finish a heck of a start.” Imanaga said, “It was a situation I created on my own. I was glad I was able to get those strikeouts.” After a 19-minute rain delay in the bottom of the seventh, Luke Little struck out Adley Rutschman with two runners on and Porter Hodge retired Ryan Mountcastle, who had a three-hit game. Baltimore has been outscored 13-2 in the series and has scored three runs or fewer in seven of its last 11 games. “I just think at times we’re getting a little too big and trying to get the big hit," manager Brandon Hyde said. "I think it’s going to turn around for us.” TRAINER'S ROOM Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks, who left his last outing with back tightness, will start Friday in St. Louis, Counsell said. Hendricks pitched only two innings Saturday against the Angels before experiencing spasms in his lower back. UP NEXT Justin Steele (1-3, 2.95 ERA) starts for the Cubs on Thursday night. Steele is coming off his first career complete game, a two-hitter against the Angels. Albert Suárez (5-2, 2.48) pitches for Baltimore. ------ AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb