Stellar Hendricks, Cubs topple AL's top team

Stellar Hendricks, Cubs topple AL's top team

CHICAGO -- The Rangers probably didn't need to be reminded how good Kyle Hendricks is, but the right-hander did just that on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Hendricks scattered three hits over six dominant innings, and All-Star Addison Russell scored two runs and smacked a two-run single to lift the Cubs to a 6-0 Interleague victory in a showdown between two division leaders.

Texas' eighth-round pick in the 2011 Draft, Hendricks was dealt to Chicago, along with Minor League infielder Christian Villanueva, in '12 for Ryan Dempster, who sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" on Friday.

"Kyle's one of the best pitchers in the National League now and nobody's talking about it," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Hendricks, who ranks third in the Majors with a 2.41 ERA. "Because he doesn't throw 95 [mph], it's easy to overlook this fellow, but I promise you hitters don't really dig going up and facing this fellow, right or left-handed."

Hendricks dominates over six innings

Hendricks' stellar outing

Russell, one of seven Cubs named to the NL All-Star team, doubled with one out in the second and scored one out later on Javier Baez's single off Martin Perez, who was coming off a tough start in which he gave up 11 runs over four innings against the Red Sox. Russell's two-run hit highlighted a five-run sixth inning.

Baez's RBI single

The Rangers now have lost 10 of their past 13 games, while the Cubs have won back-to-back games for the first time since June 28-29.

"Just not a lot of offense today," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Martin had good stuff today. We just couldn't help him out."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Keep the line moving: The Cubs sent 10 batters to the plate in the sixth inning, and the first five reached against Perez, including Russell, who hit his two-run single. Jason Heyward followed with a grounder to first baseman Prince Fielder, who overthrew third baseman Adrian Beltre for an error that allowed a run to score. Pinch-hitter Matt Szczur, batting for Hendricks in what Maddon called a "National League moment," added a two-run single that knocked Perez out of the game.

Perez gets first hit: The Rangers had just three singles in the first six innings against Hendricks. One of them was an infield single by Perez on a little bouncer that third baseman Kris Bryant couldn't barehand. It was Perez's first Major League hit. He was 0-for-9 with eight strikeouts coming into the game.

"Very exciting," Perez said. "When I hit the ball, I saw the third baseman was far from it so I just said, 'I've got to get to the base as quick as I can.'"

Perez's first career hit

Glovework: The Cubs thwarted the Rangers with some nifty defensive plays. In the third, rookie catcher Willson Contreras threw out Rougned Odor trying to steal, with Baez making a quick tag at second base. With one out and one on in the fourth, Albert Almora Jr. robbed Ryan Rua of a potential extra-base hit with a diving catch in right-center. Bryant made a great play, boosted by Anthony Rizzo's stretch at first to get Beltre and end the eighth, stranding two. And Almora raced back to make a fantastic running grab to end the ballgame.

"Every ball out there, I want to catch," Almora said. "My job is to help these guys out however I can. I take pride in that." More >

Statcast: Almora's diving catch

Missed opportunity: The Rangers had just one baserunner past first base in six innings against Hendricks. Odor led off the first with a single, went to second on a passed ball and then to third on Ian Desmond's grounder to second. But Hendricks struck out Nomar Mazara and, after Beltre walked, the righty got Fielder on a grounder to Baez at second to end the inning.

"Getting a run on the board gives you confidence," Banister said. "We get a run there, maybe it's a little different game."

Baez's stellar play at second

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Hendricks wasn't the only former Ranger who pitched for the Cubs on Friday. Carl Edwards Jr. was the Rangers' 48th-round pick in the 2011 Draft, and he was dealt to the Cubs on July 22, 2013, along with Justin Grimm, Texas' fifth-round pick in '10. Grimm pitched the ninth for Chicago. And Pedro Strop was originally signed by the Rockies in '02, but he signed with the Rangers in '08 and made his Major League debut with Texas in '09.

Hendricks' outstanding outing haunts former team

Edwards Jr. strikes out Chirinos

WHAT'S NEXT
Rangers: Right-hander Yu Darvish will be activated off the disabled list to pitch against the Cubs at 1:20 p.m. CT Saturday at Wrigley Field. Darvish has been sidelined with discomfort in his right shoulder, and he will be making his first start since June 8.

Cubs: Right-hander Jason Hammel will pitch for the Cubs. He is trying to snap a four-game losing streak, as he is 0-4 with a 5.94 ERA in his past six starts. Hammel's last win came on June 4 against the D-backs.

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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.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.