Cubs sweep Mets, hand Maddon 800th win

Cubs sweep Mets, hand Maddon 800th win

CHICAGO -- Dexter Fowler hit a solo home run and scored the tiebreaking run in the seventh on a passed ball by Anthony Recker to lift the Cubs to a 6-5 win over the Mets Thursday and complete a sweep of the four-game series.

"To come in here, and we knew who we were facing, we knew we were facing big arms [of the Mets], and to grind out at-bats like everyone has done all year, is nice," Chicago's Anthony Rizzo said.

With the game tied at 5 and one out in the Chicago seventh, Fowler singled and Rizzo was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game and 11th time this season, most in the Major Leagues. New York starter Jon Niese was lifted for reliever Hansel Robles, who got Kris Bryant to fly out. Fowler advanced on the play, and then scampered home when Recker couldn't handle Robles' first pitch to Starlin Castro.

Recker had helped give the Mets a 5-1 lead with a pair of solo home runs. Niese retired the first nine batters he faced before serving up Fowler's third home run of the season leading off the fourth.

The win gave the Cubs their first four-game sweep of the Mets at Wrigley Field since Aug. 6-9, 1992. It also was Joe Maddon's 800th career win, which ranks eighth among active managers.

Maddon's first win was Aug. 21, 1996, a 7-1 Angels victory at Yankee Stadium when he was the interim skipper, subbing for John McNamara. Chili Davis hit two home runs in the game. Maddon thanked Davis on Thursday again.

"They're a good team," Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer said of the Cubs. "They're swinging the bats well. They're playing well. They've got talent. There's a lot of talent over there. And they showed a lot of perseverance and fortitude to be able to come back."

Maddon on sweeping Mets

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Recker's goof: With men on the corners and two outs in the seventh, Recker simply was unable to catch a Robles slider to Castro. The ball glanced off his glove and skidded to the backstop, allowing Fowler to cruise home easily with the go-ahead run.

"It's just frustrating to be a part of letting the winning run cross the plate," Recker said, "on a play that should have been made." More >

Big boppers: It wasn't even remotely all bad for Recker, who posted the first multi-homer game of his career and the first by a Mets player this season. The catcher, who played for the Cubs briefly in 2012, connected off Chicago starter Travis Wood with a solo homer in the second and again in the fourth. The second blast followed Wilmer Flores' solo shot. Wood was lifted after 4 1/3 innings, the third straight start that he has failed to get past the fifth.

Recker's solo homer

Rally caps: The Cubs sent nine batters to the plate in the fifth and overcame a 5-1 deficit. Jorge Soler, who leads the National League in strikeouts, reached on an infield hit to start the fifth and then scored on Matt Szczur's double. One out later, Addison Russell was safe on a throwing error by shortstop Flores, which allowed Szczur to score, and Rizzo and Bryant followed with RBI singles to tie the game at 5.

Bryant's run-scoring single

No deficit is too big as far the Cubs are concerned.

"What were we down, like five runs? It isn't like anyone put their head down," Rizzo said. "We kept playing. We know we can string together hits like that. We didn't do it with the long ball, it was all singles, and guys kept the line moving." More >

QUOTABLE
"To be honest, that's why some of those big guys are out there. This is when they need to step up. This is when the Michael Cuddyers and the [Daniel] Murphys … need to step up. This is when you need it most." --Mets manager Terry Collins on his club's recent offensive struggles

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Mets first baseman Lucas Duda finished 2-for-4 with a double off left-handers Wood and James Russell, improving to 16-for-39 (.410) against lefties. Duda has as many extra-base hits against same-sided pitchers (four) as he did all last season.

Thursday marked Maddon's 800th career win, but only his 19th with the Cubs. He was 8-14 in 1996 and 19-10 in 1999 as an interim manager with the Angels, and 754-705 in nine seasons with the Rays (2006-14).

Cubs closer Hector Rondon converted his eighth save, and now has held the opponent scoreless in 14 of his 16 outings.

Rondon closes out the game

WHAT'S NEXT
Mets: Bartolo Colon will vie for his league-leading seventh victory when the Mets return home Friday for a 7:10 p.m. ET game against the Brewers. Colon's opponent, 36-year-old right-hander Kyle Lohse, is still more than a half-decade younger than him.

Cubs: Kyle Hendricks will start Friday when the Cubs open a three-game series against the Pirates at Wrigley Field. The right-hander has faced Pittsburgh twice this season and given up five earned runs over 10 1/3 innings, posting a 0-1 record. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT at Wrigley.

Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.