Game Seventy-Five – Cubs 1, Mets 0
WP – Kyle Hendricks (3-4) LP –Jon Niese (3-8) Save – Jason Motte (3)
Kyle Hendricks scattered three hits over six shutout innings. Matt Szczur doubled in Kris Bryant for the game’s only run. And the bullpen retired all nine batters they faced as the Cubs beat the Mets on Tuesday night.
Kyle Hendricks had a really good night at Citi Field. Hendricks found a rhythm early with David Ross and appeared to be ready to throw his next pitch when he received the ball. Hendricks pitched with a confidence that had been lacking for the better part of the last month.
Hendricks gave up two-out singles in the first and second innings and set the side down in order in the third. Hendricks worked around a one-out double by Daniel Murphy in the fourth and pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning. Hendricks started falling behind in the sixth inning, but did not let a two-out walk to Lucas Duda hurt him.
The Mets did not put two runners on base at the same time against Hendricks. And not a single runner reached third while he was on the hill. Hendricks turned the game over to the bullpen after completing six innings for the first time since June 2.
Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop and Jason Motte did not allow a baserunner over the last three innings. All three relievers set the side down in order. Rondon in the seventh, Strop in the eighth and Motte in the ninth. Cubs’ pitching combined on a three-hit shutout with one walk and nine strikeouts.
The best thing for a struggling offense is good pitching and that is exactly what Joe Maddon received Tuesday.
The Cubs managed only four hits on the night. And it was a walk to Kris Bryant (1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored) and a clutch, two-out double by Matt Szczur (2-for-4 with a double and a RBI) that gave Kyle Hendricks and the bullpen all the runs they would need.
Kris Bryant walked on four pitches to start the sixth. After Starlin Castro flied out to left center, Chris Denorfia bounced a 0-2 pitch back up the middle that Niese fielded with his barehand. Niese looked at second, but had no play and threw to first for the out. Bryant advanced to second with two outs.
Matt Szczur pulled the first pitch from Niese over Michael Cuddyer’s head in left. Bryant scored easily and gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. After David Ross was intentionally walked, Kyle Hendricks was called out on strikes to end the sixth inning.
Dexter Fowler (1-for-4) collected the Cubs only other hit on the night.
A lot was made during the game about the Cubs’ issues with RISP. The Cubs went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday night and left seven men on base. Four of those at bats were taken by Chris Denorfia, David Ross and Kyle Hendricks was up twice with runners in scoring position.
The Cubs snapped the five-game losing streak with their ninth shutout of the year. And with Tuesday’s win, the Cubs finished June with a 14-13 record and improved to 40-35 on the season.
Jon Lester and Bartolo Colon square off in game two under the lights Wednesday night (6:10pm CDT) at Citi Field.