CHICAGO -- The Cubs' missed opportunities cost them Tuesday night against the Mets. Rene Rivera smacked an RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning to lift New York to a 2-1 victory at Wrigley Field and even the series at one win apiece. Closer Jeurys Familia picked up his Major League-leading 33rd save by escaping a no-out, bases-loaded jam.
"He's a special guy," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Familia, who is tied for fourth in Major League history with 49 consecutive regular-season save conversions. "That's why I think he's as good as there is in baseball."
With the score tied at 1 in the ninth against Cubs closer Hector Rondon, James Loney singled to left, but he was forced at second on Neil Walker's grounder. Walker was called out at first, but after a review, the call was overturned and Walker was safe. Asdrubal Cabrera singled to right, and one out later, Rivera lined a single to right to score Walker.
Chicago loaded the bases on two walks and a single in the bottom half, but Familia got Matt Szczur to hit a grounder to first base, with Loney firing to home for the first out. Kris Bryant then hit into a double play to end the game. The Cubs went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position, stranding 10.
"We had a chance late and didn't get the hit when we needed to," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Everybody did what they were supposed to do. We weren't able to score that winning run. A bloop hit right there, we're all very happy going home, jumping up and down. That doesn't mean we didn't play well."
The game featured two All-Star pitchers, the Cubs' Jake Arrieta and the Mets' Noah Syndergaard. Neither pitched last week in San Diego, and Maddon predicted Arrieta would feel as fresh as the first day of Spring Training because of the extended break. Syndergaard joked that he had a new arm after the time off. As it turns out, neither got a decision, just a good tune up for the second half. Arrieta allowed one run over seven innings, while Syndergaard held the Cubs to an unearned run over 5 2/3 frames.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Rally time: Replay served the Mets well all night, resulting in one extra run for them and one fewer run for the Cubs. Collins' second challenge in the ninth inning erased a double play, giving the Mets a runner at first base with one out. Walker advanced from there to second on Cabrera's single, coming home on Rivera's go-ahead hit.
"I was ready to put the ball in play," Rivera said. "I went out there knowing [Rondon] likes to throw fastballs. I just wanted to put a good swing, make good contact, try to make something happen. Thank God I did."
Welcome back: Arrieta cruised through the first three innings, throwing 27 pitches, 25 for strikes. For the game, he scattered five hits and walked one, striking out eight. It was an improvement after his three outings prior to the All-Star break when he was tagged for a total of 15 runs. He also doubled with two outs in the fourth but was thrown out at home trying to score on Tommy La Stella's single. More >
"That was a little more like it," Arrieta said of his pitching performance.
Oops: The Cubs had two runners on with none out in the second for the second straight inning as Jason Heyward singled and reached third on Addison Russell's double. Miguel Montero chopped the ball to Syndergaard, who threw to Rivera. Russell had almost reached third, but for some reason retreated to second as Heyward was caught in a rundown. Syndergaard escaped as he struck out Arrieta, walked La Stella to load the bases but then got Bryant to fly out to end the inning.
"[Russell] should've been at third base there, that was the issue," Maddon said. "The runner at second has to get to third base."
Play at the plate: The Cubs' aggressive decision to send Arrieta home on a fourth-inning La Stella single resulted in some early action for Michael Conforto, who was playing his first career game in right field. Conforto's throw beat Arrieta to the plate, forcing the Cubs pitcher to reroute his path and try to tag the plate with his hand. Though home-plate umpire Eric Cooper initially called Arrieta safe, a replay clearly showed that Rivera had tagged him. That took a run off the board for the Cubs against Syndergaard. More >
"I was moving at a pretty good clip for me," Arrieta said. "I didn't see the replay. I'm assuming they made a pretty solid play from receiving the ball to the throw and then the tag. Looking back, I could have tried to get the hand over the tag, but that's not a play I'm involved in very often."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
On Monday, the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo battled Steven Matz in a 10-pitch at-bat and hit a three-run homer. On Tuesday, Rizzo struck out four times for the first time in his career.
Jose Reyes' leadoff triple in the sixth inning was his 100th career three-base hit with the Mets, by far the most in franchise history (Mookie Wilson is second with 62). Reyes has 118 triples during his 14-year career, second behind Carl Crawford among active players.
WHAT'S NEXT Mets: Perhaps it's no surprise that 43-year-old Bartolo Colon seems to like pitching during the day, with a 1.50 ERA in two day starts compared to a 3.31 ERA at night. He'll start the Mets' series finale on Wednesday, in a 2:20 p.m. ET matinee at Wrigley Field.
Cubs:Kyle Hendricks will make his second start of the second half on Wednesday when the Cubs close their three-game series against the Mets. Hendricks is 6-1 with a 1.50 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) at Wrigley Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT.