NEW YORK -- It took 11 innings, multiple scoring chances (and nearly as many mistakes) before someone finally crossed home plate. That someone wound up being the Cubs, who waited until the 11th inning of their 2-0 win over the Mets on Wednesday before eking across the game's first runs.
Starlin Castro plated the go-ahead run at Citi Field with an infield single off Carlos Torres, who initially gave the Cubs life by walking leadoff man Dexter Fowler. Eight Cubs batted in the 11th, marking one of the few extended rallies for either side all night.
"Give Starlin some credit. Slow roller to third, he beats it out legitimately," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "My takeaway is this: Win or lose that game tonight, I'm very proud of the way our guys are playing baseball. There is no quit, there is no giving up."
From there, the game descended into a sort of lunacy, with a rambunctious crowd hanging on every pitch. The Mets attempted an unsuccessful suicide squeeze in the eighth inning, nearly running into a double play, before the Cubs erased a baserunner of their own with a mental mistake in the 11th. Over the first 19 innings of this series, the two teams combined for one run.
The Mets have gone 20 consecutive innings without scoring.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Finally, a run: New York's baserunning blunder derailed its best scoring chance in the eighth. Chicago didn't let its own foil its rally in the 11th, when Kris Bryant ran into the second out after rounding second base. Castro followed by legging out his two-out tapper, and two batters later Miguel Montero added an RBI single. The inning, like most detrimental ones, started for the Mets with a leadoff walk.
"We're a little bit challenged offensively, and a lot of times teams will sink because of that," Maddon said. "We have not."
Squeezed out: Desperate for a run, the Mets put on a one-out suicide squeeze in the eighth inning with demoralizing results. Darrell Ceciliani missed the bunt, trapping Ruben Tejada between third base and home. But because Daniel Murphy had already advanced to third, Tejada had nowhere to go. He backtracked to the bag, then stepped off it, allowing the Cubs to tag both players for a would-be double play. But umpires ruled Murphy safe, allowing the inning to continue -- for another few moments, at least, until Ceciliani struck out. More >
Parnell pounces: In games this close, every baserunner proves paramount. Mets reliever Bobby Parnell knows that becomes more true as the game goes on. So in the eighth inning he leaped off the mound to make a diving snag on Jonathan Herrera's sacrifice bunt attempt. Not only did Parnell keep a runner from scoring position in a 0-0 game, but he also threw to first to complete the double play and clear the bases.
More good gloves: Parnell's diving grab wasn't close to the only highlight-worthy play of the night. In the third, Cubs second baseman Herrera ranged past the second-base bag then completed a jump throw to take a single away from Tejada. Left fielder Chris Coghlan's over-the-shoulder catch took extra bases away from John Mayberry Jr. leading off the fourth. On the Mets side, Wilmer Flores made a diving play to rob Coghlan in the seventh.
Leaving 'em loaded: The Mets found themselves with a prime opportunity to break through against Lester in the second inning, turning a Mayberry double, a Kevin Plawecki single and a Juan Lagares hit-by-pitch into a bases-loaded, one-out situation. But Colon popped up to shallow right field and Curtis Granderson flied out to center to keep things scoreless.
"I brought in a witch doctor to clean out the clubhouse, get all the bad spirits out of there." -- Collins, upon hearing that Cubs counterpart Joe Maddon brought a magician into his clubhouse Tuesday to entertain his slumping team
"What they explained to me was exactly what I had in my mind's eye. So there was nothing to really argue about. I was just kinda messing with them a little bit." --Maddon on the umpires on the controversial baserunning call
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Colon's no-decision was his first in 28 starts dating back to last season. Posting a 16-11 record during his streak, Colon set a franchise record with his 27 consecutive decisions.
WHAT'S NEXT Cubs: Chicago turns to Jake Arrieta, its strikeout leader, looking for its third straight strong start as the teams conclude a three-game series Thursday at 12:10 p.m. CT at Citi Field. Arrieta went 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA in five June starts.
Mets:Jacob deGrom looks to pad his All-Star resume in Thursday's 1:10 p.m ET series finale against the Cubs at Citi Field. Few young stars in baseball have shined brighter than deGrom, who is 5-1 with a 1.23 ERA over his last eight starts.
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.