Chicago Cubs right fielder Chris Denorfia (15). Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo
CHICAGO -- Chris Denorfia and the Cubs once again displayed a flair for the dramatic on Monday.
The Cubs pinch hitter delivered a 1-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals when he slammed a first-pitch home run to the left-field bleachers to lead off the 11th inning.
"That's the kind of game that is won by something like this," said Chicago manager Joe Maddon. "He comes off the bench, he's done a great job pinch-hitting. He was ready."
The walk-off triumph was the Cubs' major league-leading 13th and came in the regular-season home finale.
It was the fourth win with a homer this season and was the most walk-off victories since the Cubs had 13 in 1932.
"I've had the opportunity to do that only one other time in my career," said Denorfia, who clubbed his fourth career pinch-hit homer. "I feel like a little kid again. I'm 35 years old and running around the bases just knowing what just happened and what's waiting for you at home plate is really something special."
The home run, Denorfia's fourth this season, came off right-handed reliever Miguel Almonte (0-2), who took the loss after entering in the 11th. Chicago right-handed reliever Fernando Rodney, the last of six Cubs pitchers, improved to 2-0 after working the top of the 11th for the win.
The victory was the second straight for the Cubs (91-65) while the Royals (90-66) fell for the third time in four games.
Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura tossed seven innings of two-hit shutout baseball but left without a decision. Cubs right-handed starter Kyle Hendricks also came away empty-handed after pitching six innings without allowing a run.
Chicago batters were unable to crack Ventura until right fielder Jorge Soler got the Cubs' first hit in the sixth. His leadoff single up the middle snapped Ventura's run of 15 straight retired batters.
"That was a great game," said Royals manager Ned Yost. "Both teams were stymied offensively by great pitching. That could be the best game Ventura pitched all year. He was fantastic."
Hendricks, meanwhile, allowed just two hits and walked two and matched a season high with nine strikeouts.
First baseman Chris Coghlan walked to open the seventh and eventually reached third with two out before Ventura got second baseman Starlin Castro on a swinging strike three.
Ventura was pulled for pinch hitter Kendrys Morales in the eighth. He gave up two hits, walked one and struck out six in his seven-inning outing.
Kansas City had runners in scoring position against Hendricks -- in the first and fourth innings -- but couldn't generate any runs.
"It was definitely a tough night," said center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who went 1-for-4. "Hat's off to their pitchers. They came in and were lights out tonight."
Ventura was even better. He retired 15 straight batters although Castro sent a fifth-inning pitch to the wall in center field before it was caught.
Monday's game completed a three-game series from May that that featured a middle game washout. The Royals claimed an 8-4 win on May 29 while the Cubs rebounded to a 2-1 victory in 11 innings on May 31.
NOTES: Kansas City remains in Chicago following Monday's makeup game with the Cubs, traveling to the South Side for a three-game set with the White Sox beginning on Tuesday. ... With eight games still to play, 3B Mike Moustakas has already recorded career bests in hits (148), home runs (21), RBIs (76), runs scored (70) and walks (41). ... Kansas City sends RHP Johnny Cueto (10-12, 3.45 ERA) against RHP Jeff Samardzija (10-13, 5.04 ERA) in the opener of the White Sox series. ... Monday's game with the Royals was the latest the Cubs have played an American League team since Oct. 10, 1945, in Game 7 of the World Series against the Detroit Tigers. ... RHP Jake Arrieta is 10-0 with a 0.44 ERA in August and September, only the second pitcher ever with 10 wins without a loss and an ERA bellow 1.00 in that span. ... Cubs RHP Dan Haren (9-9, 3.83) goes against Reds RHP Josh Smith (0-2, 7.23 ERA) on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series in Cincinnati.