Cubs rout Mets for sweep, 3 up on MIL, STL

Cubs rout Mets for sweep, 3 up on MIL, STL

CHICAGO -- What's the best way to deal with getting swept at home? The Cubs responded by pulling off a sweep of their own, beating the Mets, 14-6, on Thursday night at Wrigley Field.

Anthony Rizzo smacked his 32nd home run and finished a triple shy of the cycle, and Jason Heyward hit a three-run homer to spark the Cubs, who had lost three in a row to the Brewers last weekend. Chicago now has a three-game lead over idle Milwaukee and St. Louis, which comes to Wrigley Field next. The Mets were officially eliminated from postseason play with the loss.

"We certainly got them ready for the Cardinals," Mets manager Terry Collins quipped.

Rogers: It's gut-check time as Cubs face stiff test

The Cubs scored 39 runs, their most in a three-game series since June 1-3, 1987, against the Astros.

"We did what we needed to do in this series," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "It's important to not relinquish a game or a half a game right now and hold onto those edges."

Rizzo's homer in the third inning came off the first pitch from starter Seth Lugo, matching his career high (2014 and '16). Heyward connected in the sixth against Paul Sewald and finished the game with four RBIs.

Heyward's three-run home run

Rizzo now has 106 RBIs, three shy of his career-high 109 set last season. Was he thinking triple in his last at-bat in the sixth?

"It's hard to hit a triple in this park," he said. "If there was a double in the gap, I probably would've tried to keep going."

Lugo was charged with eight runs (seven earned) over three-plus innings and took the loss, the Mets' fourth in a row. Dropping the series by a combined score of 39-14, the Mets set a franchise record for runs allowed in a three-game series.

"It's been a rough season for me," Lugo said. "It's been a rough season for a lot of guys."

Dominic Smith and Travis d'Arnaud belted back-to-back home runs in the third off Jen-Ho Tseng, who was making his Major League debut. But the Cubs pulled within one on Rizzo's home run and then scored five runs in the fourth, including three consecutive run-scoring doubles by Jon Jay, Kris Bryant and Rizzo.

Smith, d'Arnaud go back-to-back

Slippery slope: Kyle Schwarber led off the second with a bunt single and reached third on Javier Baez's single. Schwarber then slid home on Heyward's fielder's choice. Taylor Davis notched his first Major League hit, an infield single that d'Arnaud scooped up but he slipped and made an off-balance throw to first. The ball sailed for an error, allowing Baez to score. Tseng then grounded out to short, and Heyward scored to tie the game at 3.

"It was a little slippery out there," d'Arnaud said. "A few guys slipped out there."

Baez scores on an error

Double or nothing: The Cubs rallied in the fourth. Alex Avila walked and reached third on pitcher Mike Montgomery's single. Jay hit an RBI double to tie the game at 5 and Bryant followed with a go-ahead two-run double to chase Lugo. Rizzo greeted Josh Smoker with an RBI double for an 8-5 lead. Rizzo then stole third and scored on Ian Happ's sacrifice fly.

Cubs' five-run 4th inning

"I hope they saw the energy, what it takes, what's expected when you're in a pennant race, and the energy the crowd can bring. It's always a good place to play anyway. I walked around today and asked a lot of the guys what they thought. They were pretty impressed. I told them about the electricity here in 2015. They got a taste of it and it was good for them." -- Collins, on his young players experiencing the atmosphere at Wrigley Field

"I probably shouldn't take Clark [Street]. Just go down Lake Shore [Drive]. It's a good thing, I love it. It's good for the city, it's good for baseball. It's good for your growth moments as a baseball person in the National League. It'll be exciting. One at a time. Try to get a nice one-game winning streak going tomorrow and move on from there." -- Maddon, on the upcoming Cubs vs. Cardinals series

With his 509th career stolen base in the first inning, Reyes snapped a tie with Ichiro Suzuki for sole possession of the lead among active players. No one else has more than 393. Reyes is also tied for 34th on the all-time list, five steals shy of Barry Bonds in 33rd place.

Reyes steals second base

The game marked the Major League debut of Tseng, the Cubs' Minor League Pitcher of the Year who was a combined 13-4 at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. The Mets did not have much of a scouting report on the 22-year-old Taiwanese pitcher and neither did Maddon, who had never seen him pitch. It was an outing Tseng won't forget.

Tseng's first MLB strikeout

His first pitch was a called strike to Reyes, who eventually drew a walk. Tseng also committed an error, hit a batter, gave up a run and struck out two, and that was all in the first inning.

Tseng shakes nerves, shows promise in debut

In the second, Tseng helped himself with a run-scoring groundout, which tied the game at 3. The Cubs tried to make him feel at home, and started catcher Davis, who had handled all but one of Tseng's starts at Iowa. But the young pitcher was lifted after striking out six, giving up five runs and throwing 70 pitches over three innings.

Tseng's RBI groundout

The Mets lost a pair of starting position players in the fifth inning, when both d'Arnaud and shortstop Amed Rosario departed due to injuries. Rosario left the field gingerly because of a tight right hip flexor, while d'Arnaud suffered a twisted right knee. Both players are day to day. More >

Rosario, d'Arnaud leave injured

Mets: Riding a personal three-game winning streak despite 10 walks in his last 10 1/3 innings, Rafael Montero will return to the mound when the Mets open a three-game series Friday in Atlanta. Montero will oppose rookie left-hander Sean Newcomb in the 7:35 p.m. ET game at SunTrust Park.

Cubs: John Lackey will start Friday to open a three-game series against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field. He's been on a roll since the All-Star break. Despite losing his last start to the Brewers, Lackey has a 3.67 ERA in his last 10 outings. In his last two starts, he pitched at least seven innings in consecutive games for the first time all season. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.

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