Kyle 'The Professor' Hendricks schools Twins as Cubs win fifth straight


by - Senior Writer -
Cubs ace Kyle Hendricks established a new season high for himself by striking out 10 across eight shutout innings. (Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports)
Cubs ace Kyle Hendricks established a new season high for himself by striking out 10 across eight shutout innings. (Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO — A pitching duel at Wrigley Field made for a quick contest void of high-flying offense on Friday night. In the opener of a three-game set, which lasted a little over 2 1/2 hours, the Chicago Cubs (31-20) were led by right-handed ace Kyle Hendricks, who racked up a season-high 10 strikeouts in his eight innings pitched against the Minnesota Twins (31-22).

Left-handed curveball specialist Rich Hill, a former Cub, started on the bump for the Twins and fanned five in a seven-inning outing. The only run Hill allowed came in the first frame, and the North Siders were able to cling to that one-run lead the rest of the way. Winning 1-0 in a matchup that featured just three hits by each team and zero extra-base hits whatsoever, Chicago tallied their fifth consecutive victory and improved to 11 games over .500 for the first time all season.


Inning-by-Inning Breakdown:


T1: Byron Buxton hit a leadoff single to left and helped prevent an inning-ending double play a few at-bats later by taking off for second while the pitch that Nelson Cruz grounded out on was delivered. Buxton then took third on a wild pitch, but, following a two-out walk, Hendricks escaped the inning without giving up any runs by forcing Miguel Sano to ground out.

Score: Twins 0, Cubs 0


B1: The Cubs struck first, with Anthony Rizzo crossing the plate not long after drawing a walk in the leadoff spot. Rizzo then tabbed his second steal of the season. Kris Bryant proceeded to draw a walk, and a bespectacled Willson Contreras, who donned glasses on the evening, plated Rizzo with an RBI base knock to center. Bryant, who reached third on Contreras' single, was tagged while sliding back to the bag after Josh Donaldson fielded a broken-bat chopper hit by Kyle Schwarber. Donaldson opted to go after Bryant upon catching him too far from the base, and he tagged Bryant while diving toward him. Javier Baez struck out after that, and Hill got Jason Heyward to pop up on the infield and usher in the second frame.

Score: Twins 0, Cubs 1


T2: Jake Cave swatted a one-out single and was thrown out by Contreras on an inning-ending steal attempt, with Baez applying the tag at second. Hendricks recorded two strikeouts in the top of the second.

Score: Twins 0, Cubs 1


B2: The Cubs went down in order their second time up.

Score: Twins 0, Cubs 1


T3: A hard-hit grounder from Buxton was fielded cleanly by Bryant at third before Bryant threw to first for the putout. Hendricks went 1-2-3 through the third.

Score: Twins 0, Cubs 1


B3: With two outs, Contreras reached on a perfectly executed bunt single. A questionable call by home plate umpire Angel Hernandez prevented Contreras from moving into scoring position, as a hit by pitch was nullified by Hernandez ruling that Schwarber leaned into the pitch. One of Hill's trademark curveballs dinged Schwarber's elbow guard, but Hernandez did not give Schwarber first base, leading Cubs manager David Ross to argue the call on the field. Schwarber was subsequently rung up for an inning-ending strikeout.

Score: Twins 0, Cubs 1


T4: The Twins went three up, three down in the fourth.

Score: Twins 0, Cubs 1


B4: Chicago failed to reach base in the fourth.

Score: Twins 0, Cubs 1


T5: Hendricks drew a popup and struck out a pair as he breezed through the fifth.

Score: Twins 0, Cubs 1


B5: One flyout and two groundouts made up an uneventful bottom half of the fifth.

Score: Twins 0, Cubs 1


T6: Donaldson reached via a bloop single with two outs. The wind seemed to get ahold of the high pop fly, which landed in between multiple Cubs defenders in shallow right field. Nothing came of it though, as Cruz grounded out in the ensuing at-bat.

Score: Twins 0, Cubs 1


B6: Schwarber smacked a two-out single through the infield, and Billy Hamilton pinch ran for him. Hill fanned Baez to end the inning.

Score: Twins 0, Cubs 1


T7: Hendricks notched two more strikeouts in a 1-2-3 top half of the seventh.

Score: Twins 0, Cubs 1


B7: Heyward lined out to Sano at first for the first out. Cave then caught back-to-back fly balls in right, including a difficult catch of a high popup off the bat of Cameron Maybin.

Score: Twins 0, Cubs 1


T8: Rizzo fielded a couple of grounders at first, and Maybin caught a fly ball on the warning track in left.

Score: Twins 0, Cubs 1


B8: Caleb Thielbar relieved Hill prior to the bottom of the eighth. After drawing two quick flyouts, Thielbar walked two consecutive batters, but he got pinch hitter Ildemaro Vargas to swing and miss at a high pitch on a full count.

Score: Twins 0, Cubs 1


T9: Jeremy Jeffress relieved Hendricks at the start of the ninth. With Buxton at the plate, Baez made a valiant attempt at catching a foul ball in the netting on the third-base side but was unable to do so. Buxton then drew just his second walk of the season. Donaldson grounded into a 4-6-3 double play after that, with Baez hopping off second base and making a midair throw to Rizzo. Cruz kept the Twins alive by drawing a two-out walk before Jeffress struck Eddie Rosario out swinging on a full count to end the game and put a bow on the Cubs' shutout triumph.

In the wake of the winning decision, Hendricks now stands at 6-4 with a 2.93 ERA. After receiving no run support whatsoever, Hill was handed the losing decision, making him 2-2 overall. Jeffress recorded his eighth save of the year. The Cubs currently hold a 5 1/2-game lead in the National League Central.

Final Score: Twins 0, Cubs 1


Statistical Breakdown:

Chicago Cubs: Batting: 1 R, 3 H, 1 RBI, 1-5 RISP, 6 LOB; Baserunning: 1 SB; Fielding: 0 E, 1 DP, 1 CS; Pitching: 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 11 K, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 IBB, 1 WP

Minnesota Twins: Batting: 0 R, 3 H, 1 GIDP, 0-1 RISP, 4 LOB; Baserunning: 1 CS; Fielding: 0 E; Pitching: 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 IBB, 0 WP


Studs of the Game:

Chicago Cubs: Kyle Hendricks (SP): 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 IBB, 1 WP; Willson Contreras (C): 2-3, 0 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 0 K, 1-1 RISP, 1 defensive CS

Minnesota Twins: Rich Hill (SP): 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 IBB, 0 WP


Duds of the Game:

Chicago Cubs: Jason Heyward (RF): 0-3, 0 R, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K, 0-1 RISP

Minnesota Twins: Mitch Garver (C): 0-3, 0 R, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 SB allowed


Up Next: Game two of the series will commence at 7:15 p.m. CDT on Saturday, Sept. 19. Cubs righty Alec Mills (5-3, 3.93) will make his first start since throwing a no-hitter last weekend. He will go up against Twins righty Michael Pineda (1-0, 3.57) on what is expected to be a clear, mild night at the Friendly Confines.


Highlights:

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