Game One Hundred Fifty-Six – Cubs 12, Pirates 2
WP – Kyle Hendricks (16-8) LP – Chad Kuhl (5-4) Save – None
Kyle Hendricks lowered his Major League best ERA to 1.99 with six shutout innings. Javier Baez launched a Grand Slam in the fourth and drove in half the Cubs 12 runs. Kris Bryant hit his 39th homer of the season and passed the 100 RBI on the season as the Cubs beat the Pirates on Monday night at PNC Park.
Kyle Hendricks turned in another solid performance Monday night. Hendricks gave up seven hits in six innings but did not issue any walks. Hendricks pounded the strike zone over his last three innings of work after he pitched out of a big jam in the third inning. Hendricks made 93 pitches, 61 for strikes, and turned the game over to the pen with an 11-0 lead.
The Cubs offense had a huge night. The Cubs pounded out 18 hits and scored six of the 12 runs on two swings of the bat.
Javier Baez (2-for-5 with a home run and six RBI) gave Hendricks a lot of breathing room in the fourth inning with his second Grand Slam of the season. Baez drove in a career-high six runs in his two-hit night. Baez delivered a two-run knock that capped the six-run sixth inning.
Kris Bryant (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) smacked his 39th homer of the season in the sixth inning. A two-run shot to left center with Chris Coghlan (2-for-4 with two walks and two runs scored) on first base. Bryant passed the 100 RBI mark on the season and has driven in 101 runs with six games left to play.
Albert Almora Jr. (3-for-6 with a double, a run scored and a RBI) had a three-hit night and was in the middle of the scoring.
Jason Heyward (2-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored, a sac fly and two RBI) drove in the Coghlan with a sac fly in the first inning. Heyward was on base three times, scored two runs and was credited with the game winner.
Chris Coghlan reached base four times out of the leadoff spot and scored two runs.
All but one of the position players Joe Maddon used Monday night had at least one hit and six of the 12 had multi-hit games. Maddon started emptying his bench in the sixth inning.
Pedro Strop completed a scoreless inning in relief of Hendricks in the seventh. Hector Rondon had another concerning outing. Rondon served up back-to-back home runs to Matt Joyce and David Freese in the eighth for the Pirates only two runs on the night.
Aroldis Chapman pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
The Cubs have won 100 games in a season for the first time in 81 years (1935) and for the sixth time in franchise history.
The turning point in Monday’s game came in the bottom of the third. With the Cubs leading 1-0, the Pirates put runners on second and third with one out. Chad Kuhl singled and John Jaso doubled with one out. Hendricks went to work and got out of the jam.
Hendricks retired Josh Bell on a grounder back to the mound (2-2 pitch). Andrew McCutchen flied out to left center on a 2-0 pitch to end the inning. Hendricks got of it with the Cubs still leading by one run. And the offense started pouring it on in the top of the fourth.
Javier Baez launched his second Grand Slam of the season after Jason Heyward singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. Chad Kuhl hit Addison Russell. Albert Almora Jr. reached on a perfectly placed bunt to the third base side of the mound. Baez stepped in with the bases loaded and smoked a 0-2 pitch to left.
Baez hit a rocket to the seats in left and the Cubs took a 5-0 lead on the slam.
The Cubs put the game well out of reach in the sixth inning. The Cubs scored six runs in the sixth with Bryant delivering the big hit and setting a career-mark.
Chris Coghlan reached on a single to center with one out in the sixth. Kris Bryant pulled a 2-2 pitch out to deep left center. Bryant’s blast, his 39th of the season, made it a 7-0 Cubs lead and in the process he surpassed the 100 RBI mark. Bryant has now driven in 101 runs this season.
The Cubs were just getting started in the sixth.
Anthony Rizzo walked and went to third on a single by Willson Contreras. Heyward bounced a 1-1 pitch toward third. Jung Ho Kang fielded the ball cleanly but did not know which player to throw the ball to at second base. The Pirates were in a shift. Mercer covered second but dropped the ball. Rizzo scored, 8-0 Cubs, and Contreras went to third on the play. The Pirates were not covering the bag and he beat Kang to third. Russell grounded out to third. Contreras was caught in a run down and tagged out.
Albert Almora Jr. blooped a double down the right field line. Heyward scored, 9-0 Cubs. Russell stopped at third with two outs.
Javier Baez ripped a single to left. Russell and Almora Jr. scored, 11-0 Cubs. Hendricks, who started the inning by striking out, struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Pirates loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth with two outs. Hendricks retired Adam Frazier on a flyout to left to keep the shutout intact.
After six complete, the Cubs led 11-0 and both teams started emptying their benches.
The Cubs added a run in the seventh on an error by Jung Ho Kang. The Cubs loaded the bases against lefty Steven Brault. Tommy La Stella hit for Bryant and walked with one out. Matt Szczur singled to center. After Contreras went down swinging for the second out, Heyward walked to load the bases. Maddon sent up Munenori Kawasaki to hit for Russell. Kawasaki bounced a 1-2 pitch toward third. Kang tried to play it on a short-hop, bobbled the ball and La Stella scored … 12-0 Cubs.
Clint Hurdle went to his pen for former Cubs’ lefty Phil Coke. Almora Jr. flied out to center to end the inning.
Pedro Strop pitched a scoreless seventh but Hector Rondon struggled again. Rondon gave up back-to-back opposite field homers in the eighth to Matt Joyce and David Freese.
Aroldis Chapman was scheduled to pitch Monday and he did with a 10-run lead. Chapman closed out the game by retiring all three batters he faced in the ninth on 16 pitches, 10 for strikes.
With Monday’s win, the Cubs improved to 100-56 on the year, a season-high 44 games over .500.
John Lackey takes on veteran right-hander Ryan Vogelsong on Tuesday night (6:05pm CDT) in game two of four at PNC Park.