As tough as it was for Chicago manager Dale Sveum to say goodbye to Alfonso Soriano, he sure likes how the Cubs played without the slugging outfielder.
Just hours after completing a trade that sent Soriano to the New York Yankees for a minor league pitcher — the club's third deal this month — Chicago got an outstanding start from Edwin Jackson and then rallied for two unearned runs in the ninth inning to beat the San Francisco Giants 3-2 on Friday night.
"This is a complete different team out there now from the beginning of the season," Sveum said. "We've been playing really good defense for a while. When guys are playing up to their capability we can win games."
Chicago's 14th come-from-behind win this season — and fourth when trailing after eight innings — didn't come easily.
Pinch-hitter Julio Borbon singled leading off the ninth against closer Sergio Romo (3-5) and moved to second when pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro walked.
After David DeJesus struck out looking, Lake reached on a fielder's choice. Anthony Rizzo then hit a sharp liner that went through Belt's legs and into the right field corner.
It was rough night all around for Belt. The first baseman was tagged out in between third and home after trying to score from first on Jeff Francoeur's two-run single in the seventh.
"He was positioned right, it was hit right to him. He just missed it," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after his club lost for the fifth time in six games. "This was a tough one. You're one pitch away from winning."
Matt Guerrier (4-4) retired four batters for the win. Kevin Gregg earned his 20th save.
The wild ending was in stark contrast to the pitching duel between Edwin Jackson and San Francisco's Matt Cain.
Jackson faced just one batter over the minimum through four innings and carried a two-hit shutout into the seventh until giving up two walks and a double before Francoeur's two-run single.
"We had some terrific defensive plays out there, guys were just hustling after balls all night," Jackson said. "For us to come back in the ninth inning like that, it was huge."
Cain allowed six hits, struck out seven and walked one. He was in line to win consecutive starts for the first time since early May until Romo's fourth blown save followed the Giants' NL-leading 74th error.
Before Soriano was dealt, Chicago traded pitcher Matt Garza to Texas, and pitcher Scott Feldman went to Baltimore.
Sveum said he isn't sure if the team is done making moves before the July 31 trade deadline, but doesn't want that to become a distraction.
"I'm not exhaling yet," Sveum said before the game. "I don't really see anything else happening, but until that 11th hour is here, I don't think you can relax. We don't dwell on it anyway."
Nate Schierholtz, batting in the cleanup spot with Soriano gone, doubled and scored Chicago's first run to continue a strong stretch for the Cubs' slugging right fielder. He went 1 for 3 and is batting .428 (9 for 21) on the road trip.
Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence both doubled and scored for San Francisco, which dropped a season-high 10 games below .500.
Sandoval walked with one out in the seventh and took third on Pence's double. After Belt was intentionally walked to load the bases, Francoeur blooped a two-run single to give the Giants a 2-1 lead. Belt was tagged out trying to score after the relay throw went to the backstop and bounced back to Jackson.
"It ended up costing us the game," Belt said of his gaffe.