Hendricks does heavy lifting in shutout of Marlins
By Joe Frisaro and Greg Garno
CHICAGO -- The Cubs' offense tallied just three hits on Sunday, but it proved to be enough for starter Kyle Hendricks in a 2-0 victory over the Marlins at Wrigley Field. Chicago took two of three games from Miami to improve to 4-1 in July.
Hendricks pitched 7 1/3 brilliant innings, allowing five hits while striking out six to pick up his fourth win of the season, and second in a row. It was just his fifth quality start in 16 outings, but the Cubs have now won 11 games at Wrigley when he starts.
"I was just making a lot of good pitches," Hendricks said. "In the past, I wasn't making enough good pitches. ... I wasn't perfect, but in the end, I made enough good pitches."
Not to be outdone, Miami starter Mat Latos held the Cubs to one run and one hit, striking out seven in seven innings. Latos gave up his only hit in the first inning, during which he allowed a run to score on a wild pitch, then retired all but two batters after that frame.
Jason Motte tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to pick up his fourth save. The Cubs' bullpen has a 1.52 ERA since May 23 -- the best mark in the Majors.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Coghlan cruises: The Cubs grabbed an early lead thanks to aggressive baserunning from left fielder Chris Coghlan. Starting from first base, Coghlan didn't hesitate to head for third on Kris Bryant's base knock to left field. The move paid off, as Coghlan darted home on a wild pitch from Latos two batters later.
Coghlan then added a single in the eighth to plate an insurance run.
More wild pitches than hits: Based on his line, Latos deserved a better fate. The Marlins right-hander gave up one run on one hit over seven innings, while striking out seven. The key was two wild pitches, one more than his hits allowed.
"I just spiked [a fastball]," Latos said of his first-inning wild pitch that plated Coghlan. "It was a bad pitch. It cost the team a ballgame. Who knows? Maybe it is 0-0 right now and we're in 11, 12 innings."
Otherwise, Latos gave his team a chance, keeping it a one-run game until the eighth.
"I didn't pitch good enough to win," he said. "I gave up a run in the first inning, and ultimately it cost us, any way you look at it. The first inning, the ball was up in the zone. I was a little lucky today."
Threats stalled: Through six innings, Hendricks had worked efficiently and quickly, facing one more than the minimum. In the seventh, the Marlins had a chance to break through. Christian Yelich walked and Adeiny Hechavarria singled, but with two on and no outs in a one-run game, Hendricks got out of it. Justin Bour, first-pitch swinging, lifted a lazy fly to left, Cole Gillespie was retired on a fly to center, and Derek Dietrich grounded back to Hendricks for the third out.
Dee Gordon was also picked off first base to end the sixth and ended the eighth with a forceout on a nice play by shortstop Starlin Castro.
"We had some chances," Miami manager Dan Jennings said. "We had some looks at the game. Mat kept us in a great position to give ourselves an opportunity to tie it up and push a run across. We didn't get it done."
Buck Strop-s here: Cubs reliever Pedro Strop continued his string of dominance, throwing two-thirds of an inning without allowing a run or hit to escape the eighth, which included a strikeout of Michael Morse. Strop has now surrendered one run in 14 2/3 innings in his last 16 appearances, posting an ERA of 0.63 in that span.
"It was kind of a non-descript game, but we did pitch extremely well, we played well, and you gotta do that," said Cubs manager Joe Maddon. "I'm not concerned about the offense, as long as you can pull some of this magical stuff out while you wait for the offense, I'll take it."
"You've got to pitch. The game could have been called pitching instead of baseball." -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon, on his starters' combined five earned runs allowed in the last six games
"Very frustrating, frustrating loss for all of us. Latos pitched a great ballgame. He had a one-hitter through seven innings. He threw the ball outstanding -- putting us in prime position. We've had a total of 15 hits the last two days, with six walks, and we scored two runs. It's frustrating right now." -- Jennings, on an offense that was 1-for-23 with runners in scoring position in the series
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With his single in the first inning, Bryant has now reached base safely in 23 of his last 24 home contests. He has hit safely in 21 of those games, posting an average of .378 in that span.
WHAT'S NEXT Marlins: Off on Monday, the Marlins open a two-game Interleague set against the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Tuesday. Dan Haren (6-5, 3.45 ERA) gets the nod for the 7:10 p.m. ET start, while Boston counters with lefty Wade Miley (8-7, 4.53).
Cubs:Jon Lester takes the mound without catcher David Ross on Monday, when the Cubs host the Cardinals. Lester (4-6, 3.74 ERA) looks for his first win since May 16, while Ross, who has caught every game for the left-hander this season, remains on the disabled list with a concussion. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. Greg Garno is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.