Cubs sweep Cardinals again at home
This season series between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals has been one for the homebodies.
Now, the Cubs hope they can become better road warriors.
The Cubs beat the Cardinals 5-1 Sunday night at Wrigley Field. They swept the three-game weekend series and improved to 37-27 for the season.
Back in early May, the Cubs also swept the Cards at Wrigley -- but the Cards took all three from the Cubs last weekend in St. Louis.
Now the Cubs embark on a difficult road trip to Colorado and Los Angeles. Away from the Friendly Confines, the Cubs are only 13-16.
"We've been really good at home," said manager Joe Maddon. "We have not been a good enough road team. That's what we really have to get better with. It's not like it's been a huge issue for us in the past.
"I don't really have a strong answer for that. We have veteran pitching. Normally to me when you don't have a good record on the road, sometimes it's attached to youthful pitching, starting pitching. But with veteran starting pitching, it should not be an issue."
Speaking of the comforts of home, Kyle Hendricks turned in another strong start at Wrigley Field. He worked 7 innings, giving up 8 hits and 1 run. He improved to 7-4 for the season and lowered his ERA from 3.16 to 3.00. At Wrigley Field this season, Hendricks is 4-1 with an ERA of 1.65 in 7 starts.
"Just feel good, comfortable, with my routine," Hendricks said of his Wrigley success. "I'm a very routine-oriented guy. Part of it is just working out that way, too. Today, I actually wasn't super sharp, especially early."
The Cubs gave Hendricks a 1-0 lead in the first. Kyle Schwarber, who has been hot at the plate lately, walked to lead off. Kris Bryant singled, sending Schwarber to third. Schwarber came home on Anthony Rizzo's groundout. Kolten Wong's RBI double in the second tied the game.
The Cubs got 2 in the fifth. Jason Heyward singled. Hendricks, batting eighth in the order, bunted Heyward to second. David Bote singled Heyward home, and Schwarber hit an RBI double to the gap in right-center. Schwarber helped the Cubs to an insurance run the seventh with a single.
"It's as good as I've seen him -- ever," Maddon said. "I think I've seen him really good when he first came up, or even in the (2016) World Series, he was outstanding. If we could put this into a little bit of a time capsule, heads up."
Carlos Gonzalez hit his first homer as a member of the Cubs, a solo drive to left field in the eighth.
The only downer for the Cubs was that Bryant turned his ankle running the bases in the first. He stayed in the game, but Maddon said Bryant was sore.