Kyle Hendricks gave a vintage Saturday afternoon at Oracle Park in San Francisco, spinning eight one-hit innings as the Cubs shut the Giants out to win their second straight game and the series. He was only four outs shy of his first career no-hitter and has now gone deeper in each game he’s pitched so far this season.
John Brebbia served as the opener with San Francisco opting for a bullpen game and he was perfect in two innings of work. Jacob Junis relieved him and the Cubs offense sprung to life. Matt Mervis greeted Junis with a long homer to right that bounced into McCovey Cove to give the road team a 1-0 3rd inning lead.
Christopher Morel broke out of a slump with his own solo shot in the 4th inning. Morel delivered again in the 5th with a single back up the middle to score a pair and put Chicago ahead 4-0.
That was ample run support for Hendricks, who needed only 94 pitches to get through eight innings. He held the Giants hitless until Mitch Haniger doubled with two outs in the bottom of the 8th. Julian Merryweather tossed a 1-2-3 final frame to preserve the shutout victory. (Box score)
With one out in the bottom of the 3rd inning, Brandon Crawford crushed a ball to right-center that had triple written all over it. Center fielder Mike Tauchman made an incredible diving catch to protect the possible no-no and, more important, the Cubs’ one-run edge.
MIKE TAUCHMAN! pic.twitter.com/nuDAFdEWHA
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 11, 2023
Why the Cubs Won
Just a tremendous starting pitching performance and the team’s first two home runs in nearly a week didn’t hurt either.
Stats That Matter
- Hendricks had the sinker working with 13 ground ball outs: 8 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 3 K, and 1 BB.
- Morel was 1-for-29 before going deep Saturday.
- Mervis had a hard-hit fly out in addition to his dinger.
No one was sure what to expect from Hendricks in his return from shoulder trouble. Saturday’s result shows that he can still be a quality starter, even if he obviously won’t be this good every time. Getter production like this from Mervis and Morel really helps.
The Cubs try for the sweep Sunday at 3:05pm CT. Hayden Wesneski gets the start with another possible bullpen game for San Francisco and coverage is available on MLB Network (out of market only), Marquee, and 670 The Score.