Kyle Hendricks helps Chicago Cubs blank Milwaukee Brewers

By Andrew Wagner, The Sports Xchange
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (28). Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (28). Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

MILWAUKEE - Hits were plentiful, but offense was scarce Saturday night for the Chicago Cubs.

Thankfully, Kyle Hendricks had them covered.


The right-hander threw 5 1/3 perfect innings and struck out eight, leading the Cubs to a 1-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers that put them a game behind the Pirates in the wild-card race.

Pittsburgh lost 3-1 to Cincinnati on Saturday night so a Cubs victory on Sunday in the season finale, paired with a loss by the Pirates, would leave both teams 97-65. Chicago would secure the top wild-card spot by virtue of a tiebreaker and would play host to the game on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.

"We waited to celebrate our game until after that game was concluded," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "It's pretty interesting, isn't it? I'm really proud of our guys. We left way too many guys on base. But we pitched well enough to win."


Hendricks (8-7) allowed one hit over six innings before exiting. He got Chicago off on the right foot, breezing through the Brewers' lineup. He struck out five out of six at one point and needed only 79 pitches to get through his outing.

"I thought that was Kyle's best performance of the year," Maddon said. "Best stuff, best movement, best everything. I thought Kyle was really good tonight. It's one of those things, regardless of what happens going forward, moving into next season he's going to feel really good about it.

"The whole group, pitching-wise, seems to be in really shape right now."

Milwaukee finally got its first baserunner of the night with one out in the sixth when catcher Martin Maldonado singled up the middle, but Hendricks retired the next two in order to get out of the inning and turn things over to the bullpen.

"I was thinking about [a no-hitter], for sure," Hendricks said. "After a while, you can't help it. But at the end of the day all I'm trying to do is make good pitches. It was a good outing for me."

Milwaukee right-hander Tyler Wagner (0-2) made his third career start and allowed seven hits and two walks in six innings but held Chicago to one run while striking out three.


"This was a big confidence builder for him," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He just pitched like Tyler Wagner pitches.

"The first two times we didn't really see that but tonight his off-speed was involved and it got them off his fastball. I thought he started getting through the ball with his fastball and getting sink with his fastball.

"That line score is a line score I saw in the minor leagues a lot - six or seven innings with one run. He gives up some hits, but he gets himself out of trouble with ground balls."

The Cubs had several chances early against Wagner but managed one run in the second when left fielder Chris Coghlan tripled and scored on a base hit by shortstop Addison Russell.

The Cubs stranded 12 runners in the game and went just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

"It's not like it was anything new tonight, leaving runners stranded at third base, it has been a problem all year," Maddon said. "But I love the attitude. We keep getting after it."

Milwaukee's only chance of the night came in the eight when it put runners at the corners with one out against right-hander Fernando Rodney, but Maldonado chopped into a double play, preserving the shutout.


"You need to create more opportunities," Counsell said. "When you are looking at one opportunity, you obviously want to capitalize on it, but they turned a nice double play. Bryant made a nice play on the ball."

NOTES: Cubs starters have combined for a 0.20 ERA (one earned run in 45 1/3 innings) in the last seven games. ... The Brewers have been shut out 16 times this season while the Cubs have shut opponents out 21 times in 2015. ... Brewers LF Khris Davis has hit 21 of his team-leading 27 home runs since the All-Star break, the second most in the National League during that stretch. Davis' 48 RBIs since the break are fifth best in the league. ... Chicago was won 10 of the last 11 meetings with the Brewers and leads the season series 13-5. ... The regular season concludes Sunday with Brewers RHP Jorge Lopez (1-0, 5.40 ERA) facing Cubs RHP Dan Haren (10-9, 3.67).

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