Game One Hundred Sixty-One – Cubs 1, Brewers 0
WP – Kyle Hendricks (8-7) LP – Tyler Wagner (0-2) Save – Hector Rondon (30)
Kyle Hendricks set down the first 16 batters he faced Saturday night. Hendricks surrendered just one hit over six innings. And the bullpen picked up where Hendricks left off. The Cubs staff faced just two over the minimum in route to the team’s 21st shutout of the year. Chris Coghlan scored the only run of the game on an Addison Russell single as the Cubs beat the Brewers at Wrigley North.
Kyle Hendricks and the bullpen were the difference Saturday as the offense continued its struggles with runners in scoring positon. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-5) and Kris Bryant (0-for-5 with three strikeouts) could not come up with a hit or put the ball in play. Rizzo and Bryant left a combined 16 men in scoring position. Without discounting the job Hendricks and the bullpen did, the final score should not have been 1-0. The Cubs were 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left 12 men on base.
Chris Coghlan (3-for-4 with a double, a triple and a run scored) ended up a homer short of the cycle and it was his hustle triple in the second inning that resulted in the only run of the game. Coghlan lashed a 2-2 pitch into the gap in left center. Coghlan had the play in front of him and did not break stride. Coghlan ended up a third with a one-out triple. The Brewers pulled the infield in, Addison Russell (1-for-4 with a RBI) drove a 2-0 pitch to right and Coghlan trotted in from third.
Kyle Hendricks had pinpoint control on Saturday night. Hendricks found a rhythm early with David Ross and worked quickly. Hendricks retired the first 16 batters he faced. Martin Maldonado broke up Hendricks’ perfect game with a clean, one-out single to center in the sixth. Hendricks struck out pinch-hitter Jonathan Lucroy and Scooter Gennett rolled out to first base for the third out in the sixth. Hendricks was lifted for pinch-hitter Jorge Soler in the top of the seventh.
Kyle Hendricks allowed one hit over six scoreless innings. Hendricks struck out six of the first nine batters and ended up with eight strikeouts on the night. Hendricks did not issue any free passes and made 79 pitches, 56 for strikes, in six innings.
Pedro Strop pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning.
The eighth inning was an adventure with Fernando Rodney on the hill. Rodney issued a leadoff walk to Domingo Santana and the Brewers put runners on the corners with one out. Martin Maldonado grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. And it took an excellent scoop from Anthony Rizzo to preserve the 1-0 lead.
Hector Rondon did not mess around in the ninth. Rondon attacked all three batters he faced and recorded three outs on eight pitches, seven for strikes.
With Saturday’s win, the Cubs improved to a season-high 31 games over .500 with a 96-65 record.
The final day of the regular season and the Cubs are playing for home field advantage in the NL Wild Card Game. The Pirates lost to the Reds on Saturday night by a final of 3-1. With one game left to play, the Cubs are a game back of Pittsburgh.
Because of winning the season series with the Pirates, the Cubs own the tiebreaker. If the Cubs win and Pirates lose on Sunday, the two teams will finish with the exact same record and the NL Wild Card Game will be at Wrigley Field on Wednesday night.
Dan Haren takes on rookie right hander Jorge Lopez in the regular season finale on Sunday afternoon (2:10pm CDT).