Hendricks' near-shutout shows rotation's depth

No. 5 Cubs starter goes distance for second time in career

Hendricks' near-shutout shows rotation's depth

CHICAGO -- When Kyle Hendricks took the mound in the ninth inning, his walkup music, Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion," was playing. The Cubs right-hander heard it.

"I heard it start," Hendricks said. "I was trying to tune out as much as I can. I was trying to enjoy it, but I had to finish it out."

And he did. Hendricks threw his second career complete game, holding the Phillies to five hits in a 4-1 Cubs win Saturday in front of 41,555 at Wrigley Field, who recognized the music, too.

Hendricks goes the distance

"That was probably the coolest part was standing there for the ninth," Hendricks said. "I had to tell myself that much more to keep it simple, stay within myself and make pitches."

That was the message catcher Miguel Montero delivered each pitch, each inning. Hendricks got a boost in the first when he picked off the Phillies' leadoff man Odubel Herrera, who had reached on an infield single.

"That shut down the running game right there and killed the momentum -- that was huge," Montero said.

Hendricks picks off Herrera

The Cubs gave Hendricks a 2-0 cushion in the first on Dexter Fowler's leadoff home run and an RBI double by Ben Zobrist. That's all the right-hander needed. Hendricks was efficient, he mixed his pitches well, and he kept his pitch count low.

"I didn't want him coming out of that game," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "The contact against him was not hard. He was throwing strikes, his pitch numbers were in good shape. He wasn't getting tired."

Hendricks could've run into trouble after the Chicago second. He singled that inning and tried to score from first on Jason Heyward's double, crossing the plate standing up. Hendricks was tagged out.

"Coming all the way from first, I probably should've slid," Hendricks said. "It was a long way from first and that was about all I had in me. I figured I'd stop there."

Maddon on 4-1 win over Phillies

He missed getting a shutout in the ninth. Freddy Galvis reached on a bloop double that Heyward and Zobrist missed because of miscommunication, and eventually scored on a fielder's choice.

"Galvis is fast and a good ballplayer," Hendricks said. "It was a good heads-up play -- what are you going to do?"

The Cubs lead the National League in ERA, and have had only one game in which a starter did not go at least five innings. Hendricks has a 1.93 ERA in five home starts this year. Not bad for the fifth starter.

"I know [Maddon] has faith in me to go deep in games, but once I went out for the eighth, I knew we had some guys getting up [in the bullpen] and I had to keep on simplifying and keep it pitch to pitch and not focus on anything else," Hendricks said. "I was happy to keep it like that."

Hendricks is calm and low key, qualities which Maddon said are part of the young hurler's strengths. It also helps that he can keep the ball on the ground at Wrigley, that he has command of his pitches. He was coming off a loss to the Giants and Madison Bumgarner, but only gave up one run in that outing.

"When you're No. 5 is going out there and you know he'll give you a quality start, that means you're in pretty good shape," Montero said. "It's a pretty solid rotation."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.