Rizzo puts on a show as Cubs defeat Mets
|Wednesday, July 20, 2016, 5:28 PM- -|
CHICAGO -- Clearly looking to redeem themselves following last night’s epic ninth-inning letdown, the Chicago Cubs responded by dominating the New York Mets in the series finale of the three-game affair on Wednesday afternoon. First baseman Anthony Rizzo led the way by hitting his 23rd and 24th home runs of the season, as the Cubs coasted to a 6-2 victory at Wrigley Field.
Entering today’s game, Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks had allowed three or fewer runs in each of his last 15 starts at home, a trend that continued today. Pitching 6.1 innings and not giving up a single run, Hendricks was magnificent on Wednesday. Mets starter Bartolo Colon, on the other hand, was not his usual self, and he was victimized by both of Rizzo’s homers. Pulled after 4.1 innings on the mound, Colon gave up six runs (all of them earned) and saw his ERA rise to 3.48.
Shortstop Addison Russell put the Cubs on the board early with a two-run double to left in the first inning. Russell had himself quite a game on Wednesday, going 3-3 and accruing two RBI. With Chicago leading 2-0, Rizzo’s first moonshot of the afternoon, a third-inning blast over the center field wall, provided the Cubs with a three-run lead. His second moonshot of the afternoon, however, provided the Cubs with more than enough breathing room.
Chicago third baseman Kris Bryant, who was 2-4 with two runs scored on the day, led off the bottom half of the fifth with a double to deep center. Rizzo then proceeded to step up to the plate and go yard once more, this time over the right field wall. A 436-foot rocket, Rizzo’s second longball of the game provided the Cubs with a commanding 5-0 lead. Rizzo finished the game 2-4 at the dish with two runs scored and three runs batted in.
Although Rizzo’s homers were both highly impressive, the play of the game occurred on the defensive end, with Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward throwing Mets first baseman James Loney out at home in the top of the fourth. Clocked in at 98.8 mph, Heyward’s throw proved yet again that he sports one of the best arms of any outfielder in baseball.
Colon was pulled from the game in the midst of the bottom of the fifth, but the Cubs added one more run to their total before the inning came to a close. Second baseman Javier Baez, who has been playing really well for the Cubs coming out of the All-Star break, brought in a run with a two-out single to left that gave the Cubs a 6-0 advantage over the Mets. The hit, which came off of New York reliever Antonio Bastardo, was one of two on the day for Baez.
Mets third baseman Wilmer Flores made things a little interesting with a two-run home run off of Cubs reliever Carl Edwards, Jr., in the top of the eighth, but the Mets never seriously threatened the Cubs’ sizable lead. Winning 6-2, the Cubs took two out three against the Mets, a far cry from the embarrassing sweep that they endured in Queens earlier this month.
Hendricks, who struck out seven, earned the win to move him to 9-6 on the year. Needless to say, Colon collected the loss, dropping him to 8-5 overall. The Cubs now stand at 57-37, while the Mets stand at 50-44. A possible NLCS preview, this series saw the Cubs reestablish themselves as one of the National League’s best and brightest and also brought an end to the dismal funk that the North Siders found themselves in during the weeks leading up the All-Star Game. With a bye tomorrow, the Cubs will travel north to Wisconsin, as they are set to engage in a three-game series at the Milwaukee Brewers (39-52) this weekend.