ST. LOUIS – If anyone has endured some hard luck in July in all of Major League Baseball, it’s the man on the mound for the Cubs on Wednesday night.
Coming into the game with the Cardinals, Kyle Hendricks had allowed exactly two runs in four starts and no runs against the Brewers on July 26th. He’s struck out 25 batters with just nine walks and had given the Cubs a shot to win each game.
But in those five starts, he failed to come away with a win, losing three decisions as the offense didn’t pick him up or the bullpen let it slip away late in the game.
It appeared that Wednesday would be another one of those moments in the ninth inning, when the Cardinals got runners at second and third with one out against Craig Kimbrel. Hendricks left two innings earlier having not allowed a run, but the Cubs’ offense could only muster two runs, leaving the game very much in doubt.
But Kimbrel would rally, getting two consecutive outs, and preserving a victory not only for Hendricks but also the Cubs, who picked up a 2-0 triumph at Busch Stadium that puts them back in a tie for first place in the NL Central. The starter picked up his first win since June 9th, improving his record to 7-8 in another stellar performance.
Hendricks went seven innings with seven strikeouts and no walks, extending his scoreless streak to 12 dating back to his last performance in Milwaukee. It’s the fifth time this season that Hendricks hasn’t allowed an earned run in a start in 2019, and he got just enough help from the offense to pick him up.
Ian Happ collected his first RBI of the 2019 season on a single in the sixth that brought home Kris Bryant. In the 8th, Javier Baez was able to draw a throw from catcher Matt Wieters at second base as he took off for third. When the ball got through the infield, he came into score to make it 2-0.
Kyle Ryan and Brandon Kintzler held the lead in the eighth, handing the ball to Kimbrel in the ninth to finish it off. After getting the first out, he allowed a single to Kolton Wong then a double to deep left by Rangel Ravelo to put the tying runners in scoring position.
The closer would collect himself after that, getting Wieters to ground to Bryant for an out at third then striking out Yairo Munoz end the game. It was a big relief for the Cubs, who pick up their third win of the road trip to move back into first in the division and give their pitcher a much-deserved victory in July.