Game Sixty-Seven – Cubs 10, Pirates 5
WP – Kyle Hendricks (5-6) LP – Jameson Taillon (1-1) Save – None
Kyle Hendricks struck out a career-high 12 batters. The Cubs launched five home runs, one each by Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras and Addison Russell. The Cubs bullpen allowed the Pirates to get back into the game before the offense cranked it up again in the seventh. And the Cubs completed the three-game sweep over the Pirates on Sunday night at the old ballyard.
The Cubs improved to a season-high 27 games over .500 with what was just another magical night at Wrigley Field. The Cubs power was on display once again, but it was Kyle Hendricks that set the tone before Willson Contreras stole the show.
With the Pirates in desperate need of a win, Kyle Hendricks had a career night. Hendricks struck out six of the first nine batters he faced. Hendricks had excellent command and a devastating changeup Sunday that kept the Pirates off balance and guessing throughout his six innings of work.
Hendricks allowed just one run, a solo homer by Josh Harrison in the fourth, on seven hits. Hendricks did not walk a batter while setting a career-high with 12 strikeouts. Hendricks struck out seven of the Pirates’ nine starters at least one time. Hendricks made 100 pitches, 67 for strikes, and turned the game over to the bullpen with a 6-1 lead.
The Cubs jumped on Jameson Taillon in the first inning. The Cubs made the rookie right-hander work and put a run on the board on an Anthony Rizzo (3-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBI) single that plated Chris Coghlan (1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored). The Cubs should have scored more in the first inning that the one run. But the Cubs forced Taillon to throw 33 pitches in the first inning and that paid off in the next two frames.
Javier Baez (3-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored) gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead with the first of five Cubs’ longballs on the night. Baez launched a solo shot to left in the second inning. In the third, it was the middle of the Cubs’ lineup that played longball.
Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a home run, a walk and two runs scored) led off the third with a line drive homer to left. The ball ended up in the basket and the Cubs took a 3-0 lead.
Anthony Rizzo followed Bryant with a homer to the bleachers in left center. Bryant and Rizzo hit back-to-back jacks … 4-0 Cubs.
With the Cubs leading 4-1 in the sixth, Javier Baez reached on an infield single with two down. And he kept the inning going for the pitcher’s spot. With Hendricks pitching out of a first and third jam in the top of the inning and reaching the 100-pitch mark, Joe Maddon sent up Willson Contreras to hit for Hendricks. And no one will ever forget his first swing in the big leagues.
Willson Contreras cranked the first pitch he saw from A.J. Schugel. And the ball ended up in the bleachers just to the right of straightaway center. Contreras’ first hit was a pinch-hit, two-run homer and he gave the Cubs a 6-1 lead.
The Pirates cut into the Cubs lead with a three-run seventh inning. Clayton Richard continued his struggles. Richard gave up a one-out, pinch-hit single to Matt Joyce and walked Gregory Polanco. Maddon went to his pen for Adam Warren. McCutchen rolled into a 5-4 fielder’s choice. But with runners on the corners and two down, Starling Marte tripled to left. Joyce and McCutchen scored, 6-3 Cubs. Jung Ho Kang reached on an infield single that plated Marte and just like that the Cubs lead was down to 6-4. Warren retired Harrison on a grounder to short to finally end the inning.
The Cubs cranked it up again the seventh and appeared to put the game out of reach. Jason Heyward (3-for-5 with a run scored) singled to center. Bryant walked and Curtis Partch had to deal with Anthony Rizzo with two on and no outs. Rizzo singled to left center. Heyward scored and Bryant went to third. Zobrist put the ball in play. Zobrist hit a grounder to Harrison at second that was a tailor made double play ball. Harrison threw home instead, Bryant slid in safe and the Cubs went up by four runs, 8-4. Montero grounded into a 3-6-1 double play.
Addison Russell launched a two-run homer to left and gave the Cubs a 10-4 lead. Baez popped out to Stallings behind the plate to end the inning.
Adam Warren stayed in for the eighth and completed a 1-2-3 inning. The Cubs did not add on in the bottom of the eighth. Maddon sent Warren back out for the ninth. But Warren struggled and Maddon had to use Pedro Strop to close out the game.
David Freese started the ninth with a double and moved to third when Polanco grounded out to first base. Andrew McCutchen reached on an infield single to third. Freese scored, 10-5 Cubs. After Marte singled to right, Maddon went to his pen for Strop. Kang grounded into a 4-6 fielder’s choice. With two down, Kang was allowed to take second base. Pedro Strop struck out Josh Harrison swinging to end the game. And something says Harrison wasn’t singing in the clubhouse this time.
With Sunday’s win, the Cubs improved to 47-20, a season-high 27 games over .500.
The Cubs welcome the Cardinals to Wrigley on Monday (7:05pm CDT). John Lackey gets the ball in the first of three and will oppose lefty Jaime Garcia.