After a blowout loss on Saturday, the Cubs needed a W in the Sunday series finale to secure a series split against the visiting Mets. Veteran southpaw Cole Hamels, who has been the Cubs’ best starter in 2019 other than Kyle Hendricks, faced off against reigning NL Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom.
Hamels helped his own cause with an RBI single to give the Cubs an early lead against deGrom, but gave up the tying run on yet another bomb by rookie slugger Pete Alonso in the 4th inning. Hamels would give up another two runs in the 5th, but he was able to keep the Cubs in the game against deGrom, who was removed after six innings due to a possible flareup of the elbow issues he was experiencing earlier this season.
This left the game within reach for Javier Báez, who went oppo in the 8th for his 100th career home run to give the Cubs a 5-3 lead. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
The Cubs hung around and managed to scratch out two runs against deGrom, which gave them a chance to take the lead on El Mago’s late homer. Hamels was bent but not broken, allowing three runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks in 7.0 IP.
After Victor Caratini struck out with Jason Heyward at third base for the second out of the 2nd inning, Hamels singled to right field for the Cubs’ first run of the game to do early damage against deGrom.
Kyle Schwarber led off the 8th inning with a single, and Anthony Rizzo reached base on a one-out walk against Mets reliever Seth Lugo. That brought up Báez, who had previously struck out twice. El Mago hit a go-ahead blast on an 0-2 count to chase Lugo from the game.
Stats that Matter
- The Cubs’ first two runs of the game came on 2-out RBI hits by Hamels and Rizzo.
- The Cubs improved to 3-for-8 with RISP from Saturday’s 0-10.
- Jason Heyward was 3-for-4 with one run scored on Hamels’ RBI single.
Today’s victory secured a series split and ensured the Cubs will remain in first place after the Brewers’ 7-5 victory over the Reds.
The Cubs will host first place Atlanta for a four-game set beginning on Monday. The Cubs will be moving to a six-man rotation to take them through their current stretch of games without an off day until July 5, with top prospect Adbert Alzolay starting on Tuesday night versus Max Fried. The series opener is set for Monday night at 7:05pm CT. Jon Lester (6-5, 4.13 ERA) will face Julio Teheran (5-5, 3.40 ERA). Chicago-area fans can watch on NBC Sports Chicago or listen on 670 The Score.