ST. LOUIS - An incredible summer was leading up to this jewel of a performance at the cusp of the fall.
Since July 1st Kyle Hendricks has won eight starts and lost just one while dropping his ERA to the lowest in all of baseball. But the young pitcher was never better than a crisp night in St. Louis on Monday.
But in the end it wasn't quite enough to be a historic evening for the 26-year old pitcher.
Hendricks took a no-hitter into the ninth inning but had it broken up by Jeremy Hazelbaker. He led off the final inning with a solo homer to right field giving the Cardinals their first hit and run of the evening. The Cubs still went on to win the game 4-1.
Manager Joe Maddon took Hendricks out after allowing the home run completing arguably his best night as a member of the Cubs. In eight innings he allowed just the Hazelbaker homer while striking out seven batters and walking just two.
He lowered his ERA 2.03 with the effort which is still the best in the MLB. He also improved his record to 15-7 on the season.
In a bizarre set of circumstances Maddon was ejected from the game after pulling Hendricks out. Aroldis Chapman came into the game and closed out the victory that reduces the Cubs Magic Number to clinch the National League Central Division to three.
Had Hendricks been able to finish the ninth inning without allowing a hit it would have added to a recent run of no-hitters by the Cubs. Jake Arrieta threw one in a 16-0 win over the Reds in Cincinnati on April 21st. The reigning Cy Young winner also threw a no-hitter against the Dodgers on August 30th of last year.
Milt Pappas was the last Cubs pitcher to throw a no-hitter at Wrigley Field back on September 2, 1972 against the Padres.