NEW YORK -- The Cubs evidently didn't need to increase their offensive output very much to end their losing streak, as one run was enough in their 1-0 win over the Mets on Tuesday at Citi Field. The Mets remained punchless themselves despite the return of infielder Daniel Murphy.
Kyle Hendricks allowed just three hits and a walk over six shutout innings, and Chicago's bullpen did the rest. That allowed the Cubs to snap their five-game losing streak while simultaneously bringing New York's four-game winning streak to a halt. The Cubs have won seven in a row against the Mets, and 10 of their last 12 dating back to last season.
"I don't care who they are," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I don't [care] if it's the Cubs or New York City College. We've got to get our bats going."
Matt Szczur plated the game's only run with a sixth-inning RBI double off Mets starter Jon Niese, who is winless in nine outings despite delivering quality starts in the last five. Prior to Szczur's hit, the Cubs had been in an 0-for-20 funk with runners in scoring position, and 4-for-their-last-43. They scored a total of six runs over their five-game losing streak.
"We pitched really well," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "They pitched really well. A 1-0 win is always pretty spectacular. But we still have to do a better job offensively. I'm sure they're saying the same thing on the other side."
In his first game back from the disabled list, Murphy finished 1-for-4 as the Mets' cleanup hitter while showing off his glove with a nice play at third.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Double Scrabble: Niese's most significant mistake of the game may have been walking leadoff hitter Kris Bryant in the sixth. Though the lefty rebounded with two quick outs, Szczur followed with a double to deep center for the game's only run.
"He left a curveball up," Szczur said. "He doesn't really do that too much." More >
Hendricks does heavy lifting: The righty looked a lot more like the rookie version of himself than the pitcher who's been experiencing a bit of a sophomore slump. Hendricks kept the Mets off balance all night by establishing his changeup earlier and working his two-seamer to both sides of the plate. Half of his strikeouts came via the changeup, and he allowed just one runner to reach second base to outduel Niese and win for the first time in four starts.
"The counts were good and in his favor," Maddon said. "When he got behind he was able to command his changeup well." More >
Productive 'pen: Cubs manager Joe Maddon pulled Hendricks after just 90 pitches and eight straight batters retired. But the three relievers Maddon summoned made that move look smart. Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop and Jason Motte combined for three perfect frames, improving Chicago's bullpen ERA to 1.67 since May 23.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Niese's string of five straight quality starts is the fourth-longest of his career, but he is 0-3 with a 3.00 ERA over that stretch. His nine straight outings without a win is a career high, as are his six straight losses. More >
The Cubs are 10-2 in their last 12 games against the Mets, and 5-0 this season.
FROM THE TRAINER'S ROOM
Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer left the game after six innings due to a sore left knee. Cuddyer was 0-for-2 at the time of his injury, dropping to 6-for-48 (.125) over his last 15 games. He will have an MRI on his knee Wednesday morning. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Cubs:Jon Lester goes for his first win since May 16 as Chicago and New York continue their three-game series at 6:10 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Citi Field. Lester tied a season high with four walks in four innings last time out. The left-hander pitched to a 5.78 ERA in June.
Mets:Bartolo Colon will look to keep his ERA from creeping above 5.00 when he takes on the Cubs at 7:10 ET. The right-hander has given up 10 earned runs over his last two starts, a span of 10 1/3 innings.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.