Game Thirty-Four – Cubs 6, Mets 5
WP – Pedro Strop (1-2) LP – Jon Niese (3-3) Save – Hector Rondon (8)
Down 5-1 going in the bottom of the fifth, the Cubs scored four times with Matt Szczur, Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant driving in the runs to tie the game. Dexter Fowler, who started the comeback in the fourth inning, scored the tying run in the fifth and the go ahead run on a passed ball in the seventh inning as the Cubs completed the four-game sweep over the New York Mets.
When Travis Wood was knocked out of the game with one out in the fifth inning and the Mets took a four-run lead, the game appeared to be over. But this team never quits and once again proved it Thursday afternoon.
Dexter Fowler (2-for-3 with a home run, a walk and three runs scored) led the comeback with a solo homer in the fourth inning that was actually the Cubs’ first hit of the game. Fowler’s first longball from the right side made it a 3-1 game at the time.
Jorge Soler (1-for-4 with a run scored) started the four-run rally in the fifth with an infield single and scored on a double to center from Matt Szczur (1-for-3 with a double, a RBI and a run scored). David Ross (0-for-3) put together a productive at bat. Ross grounded out to third, Szczur advanced to third on the play and scored when Addison Russell (0-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored) reached on a throwing error by Wilmer Flores on a ball hit in the hole at short. Fowler worked a walk and put two on for the middle of the lineup.
Anthony Rizzo (1-for-2 with a RBI and two HBP) singled to center on a 0-2 and made it a one-run game when Russell scored. Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a RBI) blooped a single to right that plated Fowler and tied the game at five.
The Cubs took the lead for good in the seventh inning after Dexter Fowler singled with one out and Rizzo was hit for the second time in the game. Bryant flied out to right and his productive out moved Fowler to third. And Fowler scored on a passed ball by Anthony Recker.
The Cubs scratched out an improbable win on Thursday afternoon with only one ball leaving the park.
The Cubs’ pen of Justin Grimm, James Russell, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon shut the Mets down over the last four innings. The Mets managed two hits from the sixth through ninth innings while the four relievers struck out eight batters without issuing a walk.
Travis Wood had another bad day. It is hard to see how Wood fits on the starting staff at this point. Wood had two good outings under his belt at Wrigley prior to the start against the Mets. But Thursday was more of the same from the lefty. Wood lasted only 4 1/3 innings and gave up five runs on seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts. Wood served up three home runs, two to Anthony Recker and the other to Wilmer Flores. Wood threw 97 pitches, 60 for strikes. And Jason Motte did not help Wood’s final line when he allowed the two baserunners he inherited from Wood to score.
With Thursday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 19-15 on the season and handed Joe Maddon the 800th victory of his career.
The Mets built a 3-0 lead in the first four innings on three solo homers off Travis Wood. Anthony Recker hit two of the three longballs, one in the second and the other fourth inning. Wilmer Flores and Recker went back-to-back against Wood in the fourth as the Cubs lefty struggled mightily with his command.
Dexter Fowler led off the fourth after Jon Niese retired the first nine batters he faced on 28 pitches, 19 for strikes. Fowler broke up the no-hit bid and shut out with one swing of the bat. Fowler homered to left and made it a 3-1 game. Anthony Rizzo was hit for the 10th time this season. But Bryant (pop out to right), Castro (flyout to right) and Castillo (grounder to short) went down in order to end the inning.
The Cubs trailed 3-1 after four innings.
Travis Wood threw 79 pitches, 49 for strikes, over four innings and retired Curtis Granderson on a grounder to first (3-2 pitch) to start the fifth. Dilson Herrera pulled a 1-2 pitch down the third baseline. Bryant made an excellent diving stop, got to his feet and made a strong throw across the diamond. Herrera hustled down the line and reached on an infield single. Lucas Duda doubled to left center (3-2 pitch) and put runners on second and third with one out.
Joe Maddon decided that was enough for Travis Wood and went to the pen for Jason Motte.
With the infield in, Motte struck out Michael Cuddyer looking for the second out. Motte could not get John Mayberry Jr. out. A single to center by Mayberry Jr. plated Herrera and Duda and the Mets took a 5-1 lead. Flores lined out to second for the third out.
Jorge Soler led off the fifth with an infield single to the hole at short. Matt Szczur doubled to center. Soler scored from first and made it a 5-2 game. David Ross hit for Motte and grounded out to third. Szczur moved up 90 feet and scored when Addison Russell hit a grounder to the hole at short. Russell reached on a bad throw to first base. Fowler walked and put runners on first and second with one out for Rizzo.
Anthony Rizzo shortened up on a 0-2 pitch from Niese and singled to center. Russell scored, 5-4 Mets. Fowler advanced to third on the play.
Kris Bryant blooped a 0-1 pitch into right. The ball found green, Fowler scored and tied the game at five. With runners on the corners, Starlin Castro popped out to Herrera in the Mets’ bullpen for the second out. And Ruben Tejada took extra bases away from Welington Castillo with a sensational backhand stop and throw to first for the third out.
After five innings, the game was tied at five.
Justin Grimm struck out the side in the sixth and James Russell tossed a scoreless seventh.
Jon Niese started the seventh inning and retired Russell on a grounder to second base that appeared to hit off the bottom of his foot. Dexter Fowler singled to center (2-2 pitch) and Rizzo was hit for the second time in the game. Terry Collins made the slow walk and went to his pen for Hansel Robles.
Kris Bryant worked a full count before flying out to right. Fowler tagged and moved to third with two outs. Starlin Castro stepped in with runners on first and third with two outs.
Mets’ catcher Anthony Recker and Hansel Robles were not on the same page. Recker called for a pitch in, Robles threw to the outside, the ball hit off Recker’s glove and Fowler scampered in with the go ahead run. Castro grounded out to Dilson Herrera to end the inning.
After seven innings, the Cubs had a 6-5 lead.
Pedro Strop pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning and Hector Rondon worked around a leadoff single from pinch-hitter Daniel Murphy to pick up the save and complete the same.
Ron Santo is very happy … Yes! Yes!
The Cubs open a three-game series with the Pirates on Friday afternoon (1:20pm CDT). Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to face lefty Jeff Locke.