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Cubs 1, Rays 0: Marcus Stroman’s one-hitter was a masterpiece

The Cubs shut down a potent Rays offense and scored just enough to win.

Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Now THAT is a way to start a series against the best team in baseball!

Marcus Stroman no-hit the Rays for six innings, then Wander Franco blooped a single into left to break that up. Stroman continued to dominate and finished the Cubs’ first complete-game shutout since Alec Mills’ no-hitter in 2020. (Yes, no kidding.) It was also the first complete-game shutout thrown by a Cub at Wrigley Field since Kyle Hendricks on Opening Day 2020.

And thus, the Cubs’ 1-0 win over the Rays, which broke a four-game losing streak, was the first CG shutout by a Cub at Wrigley in front of fans since Hendricks’ 81-pitch gem over the Cardinals on May 3, 2019.

More history a bit later, now here’s what happened in this two-hour, five-minute game, the fastest nine-inning game at Wrigley Field since May 23, 2017, a 4-1 win over the Giants.

Stroman retired the first six Rays before hitting Luke Raley to start the third, which he then finished with two strikeouts and a fielder’s choice. The Cubs got a couple of runners on in the second but could not score.

Here’s a nice defensive play by Stroman that ended the second [VIDEO].

In the fourth, the Cubs put their lone run across via small ball. Seiya Suzuki hit a dribbler down the third-base line which was thrown away by Taylor Walls, putting Suzuki on second. That was important, because the next two hitters hit fly balls to the outfield. That wouldn’t have scored a run if Suzuki had been on first base. But Dansby Swanson’s fly to center advanced Suzuki to third, where he scored on this fly to right by Mike Tauchman [VIDEO].

After that the Cubs had just one baserunner, on a two-out walk in the eighth.

But Stroman kept mowing Rays hitters down. Here’s the hit that broke up the no-hit bid [VIDEO].

If the voice sounds familiar, that’s Dewayne Staats, who was a Cubs play-by-play man from 1985-89. He’s been the TV voice of the Rays since their inception in 1998.

After the hit, Stroman walked Brandon Lowe, his only walk of the game, but then got out fof the inning on a fly to right and this double play [VIDEO].

Stroman had a 1-2-3 eighth, the Cubs (as earlier noted) did not score in the bottom of the inning, and so Stroman came out for the ninth three outs away from a shutout. No one was warming in the Cubs pen. He got Jose Siri on a comebacker, then struck out Yandy Diaz, and here’s the final out of Stroman’s masterpiece [VIDEO].

For Stroman, it was his first complete-game shutout in nine years, since his rookie year with the Blue Jays, when he shut out... the Cubs, September 8, 2014 in Toronto, on three hits. (Here’s the BCB recap of that game, which I attended, if you’re interested.)

From BCB’s JohnW53, here’s the recent history of Cubs one-hitters:

This was the Cubs’ 65th one-hit, complete-game shutout since 1901. But it was only their fourth in this century.

Jon Lieber and Kerry Wood did it on consecutive days, May 24-25, 2001, both at home, vs. the Reds and Brewers, respectively. Jake Arrieta did it on Sept. 16, 2014, at home vs. the Reds.

In Arrieta’s one-hitter, he had a no-hitter broken up with one out in the eighth by Brandon Phillips, perhaps presaging his no-hitters to come in the following two years.

The complaint department is definitely closed after this one — perhaps the best game of the year for the Cubs on another beautiful late spring day in Chicago, and won with what was basically a split-squad lineup over the best team in baseball. Why? Of course, because baseball.

You know, the Rays are just 13-11 on the road and have lost seven of their last 10 road games. It’s not impossible that the Cubs might steal another win in the two games remaining in this series.

It’ll be a tough call Tuesday, though, as Kyle Hendricks will take the mound for the Cubs against the lefthander who’s perhaps the best pitcher in baseball right now, Shane McClanahan. Game time Tuesday is 7:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.