Kyle Hendricks threw a gem Sunday afternoon in Detroit and the Cubs beat the Tigers 5-1.
Now, given Hendricks’ career, that should not be an unusual paragraph to read here — except Kyle did it on the road, where he’s struggled for the last couple of years.
Why, maybe he even went and stood on the mound at Comerica Park when the Cubs first got there to get accustomed to it, as he himself suggested he might do last year.
Okay, I’m done with the sarcasm, let’s get to the game.
The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the third inning. With one out and runners on first and second, Kris Bryant hit a ground ball to second [VIDEO].
That could have been an inning-ending double play, but KB beat the relay and Ian Happ never stopped running, his aggressiveness scoring the Cubs’ first run of the game.
They made it 2-0 in the fourth in more conventional fashion. Matt Duffy was hit by a pitch and two outs later, Nico Hoerner reached on a throwing error. That brought up Happ [VIDEO].
Happ’s double, his second hit of the game, scored Duffy with run number two.
Meanwhile, Hendricks was mowing down Tigers hitters in his usual fashion — weak contact and ground balls, along with a few strikeouts sprinkled in.
The Cubs put three on the board in the sixth. Duffy, whose performance recently has been first-rate, led off with a single. David Bote, serving as DH today, doubled him in [VIDEO].
Bote, who had advanced to third on the throw in attempting to get Duffy, then scored the Cubs’ fourth run on a sac fly by Nico [VIDEO].
The third run of the inning was courtesy of Happ’s third home run of the season [VIDEO].
That ball didn’t go all that far, but far enough:
#Cubs 5 @ #Tigers 0 [T6-2o]:— Home Run Tracker (@DingerTracker) May 16, 2021
Ian Happ homers (3): fly ball to RF (solo)
Hit: 355ft, 98.5mph, 30° , OPPO
Pitch: 90.6mph Four-Seam Fastball (LHP Matthew Boyd, 2)
Hendricks threw eight-plus innings with 105 pitches before he was lifted after allowing a pair of singles leading off the ninth, and Dan Winkler got out of it with a couple of ground balls, though a run scored when what appeared to be a game-ending double play was overturned on review.
It was the longest outing for any Cubs starter this season, and lowered Kyle’s season ERA from 6.23 to 5.27. The run charged to him Sunday scored after he left the game.
For Hendricks’ three starts in May so far, Kyle has posted a 2.70 ERA and 1.300 WHIP, with just two walks and 17 strikeouts in 20 innings. It does seem as if he’s back on track, and yes, it’s good to see him win and throw like this away from Wrigley Field. That’s especially true since his next two starts will also be on the road, Friday in St. Louis and the following week in Pittsburgh.
One last good thing about this win: After Saturday’s slog of an extra-inning game, this one was completed in just two hours, 52 minutes, the fourth-fastest nine-inning Cubs game of 2021.
The Cubs return home after a disappointing 2-3 road trip, but at least they got their first road series win of the season. They’ll begin a four-game series (and homestand) against the Nationals at Wrigley Field Monday evening. Adbert Alzolay will start for the Cubs and Jon Lester will go for Washington, and that ought to be quite the scene. Monday’s game time is 6:40 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.