Cubs 1, Mets 0
Right-hander Kyle Hendricks combined with three relievers on a three-hitter Tuesday night and left fielder Matt Szczur drove in the game’s only run with a sixth-inning double as the Chicago Cubs snapped a five-game losing streak with a 1-0 win over the New York Mets at Citi Field.
The Cubs (40-35) won despite scoring two runs or fewer for the sixth straight game. The Mets (40-38) had a four-game winning streak snapped as they scored two runs or fewer for the 10th time in the last 12 games.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon dipped into his bag of motivational tactics prior to the game, when he held a team meeting that consisted of a magician performing tricks in the visitor’s clubhouse. Maddon said he hoped it would loosen up the Cubs, who were outscored 24-6 during their losing streak.
The magician might next need to try his wizardry on the Cubs’ bats. Fortunately for Chicago, one run was enough against the anemic Mets.
Left-hander Jonathon Niese (3-8) retired seven straight before issuing a leadoff walk to third baseman Kris Bryant in the sixth. With one out, Bryant advanced to second on a comebacker to the mound by right fielder Chris Denorfia and Szczur followed with a long RBI double.
That was enough for Hendricks (3-4), who snapped a three-start winless streak by allowing three hits and one walk while striking out six. Right-handers Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop and Jason Motte (third save) combined to retire the final nine Mets in order.
The Mets got only one runner as far as second base on Tuesday. Third baseman Daniel Murphy, who was activated from the disabled list earlier in the day, doubled with one out in the fourth but was stranded when left fielder Michael Cuddyer struck out and shortstop Wilmer Flores popped out. That was the final hit of the game for the Mets.
Cuddyer left after the sixth inning with a sore left knee.Niese took the hard-luck loss after allowing one run on a season-low four hits over seven innings. He walked four (one intentionally) and struck out five.
NOTES: To make room for INF Daniel Murphy, the Mets optioned 2B Dilson Herrera to Triple-A Las Vegas. Herrera hit .195 with two homers and four RBIs in 25 games for the Mets. … Mets RHP Jenrry Mejia, who is suspended for the first 80 games of the season after he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in spring training, threw a scoreless inning for Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday. He is eligible to return July 7. … Manny Ramirez, a special assistant for the Cubs, is in New York with the major league club. Ramirez hit 555 homers in a career that ended with his second PED suspension in 2011. … Cubs OF Mike Baxter, who suffered serious right shoulder and rib injuries while making a diving catch that saved LHP Johan Santana’s no-hitter for the Mets on June 1, 2012, exchanged lineup cards at home plate with Mets manager Terry Collins.