CHICAGO – After not scoring for nearly three full games, the Cubs were desperate for a big hit or a lucky break.
Both played a role in Chicago’s late rally on Monday.
Kyle Schwarber had a three-run triple to highlight a five-run seventh, and the Cubs snapped a 24-inning scoreless streak in a 5-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
Anthony Rizzo went 2 for 2 and drove in a run for Chicago, which remained 3 1/2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central. The Cubs have a 2 1/2-game lead for the second wild card in the NL.
The Cubs were coming off back-to-back shutout losses to the Milwaukee Brewers. Before Sunday, they hadn’t been shut out in back-to-back games at Wrigley Field since August 2013 vs. the Dodgers.
“Our lineup did an unbelievable job today just being persistent,” starter Kyle Hendricks said. “Putting together great at-bats all game. That’s what we’ve been doing the last few days, but had just been hitting balls right at guys and not finding holes.”
Seattle rookie Justus Sheffield left with the lead after tossing five scoreless innings. He allowed five hits, walked two and struck out a career-high seven.
The Cubs had runners on base in each inning against Sheffield, but went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position – leaving a total of nine runners on base through five.
“Justus Sheffield was awesome,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Really, really excited about what I saw out of him today. In this environment, first time pitching in this kind of setting, I thought he handled it great.”
The Mariners got their run off Hendricks in the fifth on back-to-back doubles with one out by Dylan Moore and Dee Gordon.
Jason Heyward led off the Chicago seventh with a walk against reliever Matt Wisler (3-3) and stole second. One out later, Kris Bryant walked. Left-hander Taylor Guilbeau then came on to face Rizzo, who stroked a sharp single to center to score Heyward.
On the play, Bryant and Rizzo advanced on a throwing error by center fielder Jake Fraley, and then pinch-hitter Albert Almora Jr. was intentionally walked to load the bases. Schwarber followed with a grounder down the line that hit off first base and rolled down the line in foul territory as all three runners scored for a 4-1 Chicago lead.
If the ball doesn’t hit the bag, first baseman Austin Nola might have been able to make a play on it, or at least keep it in the infield.
“We needed to have that one break,” manager Joe Maddon said. “We needed something like that to get us rolling in the right direction.”
Addison Russell plated Schwarber with a grounder to shortstop to cap the rally.
David Phelps (2-0) pitched a scoreless seventh inning. Duane Underwood Jr. and Brad Wieck closed it out.
Hendricks allowed one run on three hits in six innings, walking one and striking out seven. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter despite only throwing 81 pitches.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.