Cubs get good outing from Quintana in 5-1 win over Mets

NEW YORK (AP) — Everything went so well Thursday night for the Chicago Cubs that free-swinger Javier Baez even drew a walk.

“We forgot to get the ball,” manager Joe Maddon said in jest. “Not for him. For me.”

Jose Quintana pitched six shutout innings, Ben Zobrist hit a two-run homer and Chicago beat the banged-up New York Mets 5-1 in the opener of a four-game series.

Zobrist also doubled and singled in the leadoff spot as the Cubs won for the fourth time in five games. Chicago improved to 2-8 at Citi Field since the 2015 NL Championship Series.

An inconsistent Quintana (6-4) continued his run of strong starts following poor ones. The left-hander allowed three hits and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third when he threw a called third strike past Jose Bautista and retired cleanup man Michael Conforto on a grounder.

“He has that good look, made the pitches when he had to. Six solid there was big,” Maddon said.

Quintana struck out six , walked two and set down his last 11 batters on a foggy, misty night in Queens. Brandon Morrow, the fourth Chicago reliever, needed only two pitches to earn his 13th save in 14 tries. With two runners aboard, he retired Amed Rosario to finish the four-hitter.

Brandon Nimmo hit his career-high sixth home run for the Mets, off Brian Duensing.

“We pitched everybody who’s available,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “They kept us in the game.”

New York got four scoreless innings from Seth Lugo in his first start of the season. Lugo, who has made 20 relief appearances, pitched in place of injured Noah Syndergaard.

“I could tell my legs were getting a little tired. These next few days I’ll really focus on some endurance stuff to get used to throwing that much in an outing,” said Lugo, who won a rotation spot in spring training before an early season rainout bumped him to the bullpen. “I’ve always been a starter. I’m a lot more comfortable starting. It was nice out there tonight.”

Struggling against lefty pitchers all season, the Mets (27-27) have lost eight of 11 since a four-game winning streak.

“It’s a new month tomorrow,” Conforto said. “A new start and hopefully we start to get some guys who are hurt back also here soon.”

Zobrist went deep against Hansel Robles (2-2) with two outs in the fifth.

Chicago caught a break earlier in the inning when Kyle Schwarber’s foul popup dropped outside third base because New York’s infield was shifted to the right side. Schwarber walked and then scored in front of Zobrist.

Baez doubled with two outs in the sixth and scored on Schwarber’s single. Zobrist’s double in the seventh set up Jason Heyward’s RBI groundout. Willson Contreras added a sacrifice fly in the ninth — just before Baez drew his first unintentional walk in 183 plate appearances since April 7.

“Yes! I walked, yes!” said Baez, who began the day tied for the NL lead with 43 RBIs. “That ball actually almost hit me. That’s why I walked.”