Hamels impressive, victorious in Cubs debut – MLB.com

PITTSBURGH — Cole Hamels made a good first impression for the Cubs.

Hamels picked up the win in his Cubs debut, collected his first hit since 2016, and even got his first at-bat before he took the mound.

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The Cubs gave the lefty a four-run cushion in the first inning, and Willson Contreras added a two-run homer in the eighth to post a 9-2 victory over the Pirates at PNC Park on Wednesday night.

Video: [email protected]: Contreras cranks 2-run homer to left in 8th

“You want to be able to win a game for your new team and the guys here,” Hamels said. “They’ve been playing outstanding baseball all season, and you kind of want to get in the mix. For them to put up the runs early, it made my job a little easier.”

Contreras finished with three RBIs, while Javier Baez reached base in five consecutive at-bats and picked up an RBI in the first to raise his National League-leading total to 83.

But this game was about Hamels, and especially his changeup. He got six of his nine strikeouts on the pitch, tying for his most since his no-hitter against the Cubs on July 25, 2015.

“All year, my changeup has been horrendous,” Hamels said. “That’s been the focus I’ve had these past couple weeks is to get back to what I know I’m comfortable with. This is the reason I made the league when I was so young, is because of my changeup. That’s what I had the most success on.

“Today, I was able to execute them and keep my mechanics the way I’m comfortable in doing to really let that changeup work.”

Video: [email protected]: Hamels on victory in Cubs debut

Hamels even got an assist from first baseman Anthony Rizzo

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