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Thor hammered: Cubs pound Noah Syndergaard, hang on to beat Mets 10-7 for rare road series win

Ian Happ, Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos all slugged two-run homers for the Cubs, who opened an early 10-1 lead against Noah Syndergaard.

Chicago Cubs v New York Mets
Schwarber watches his career-high 31st homer clear the left-field wall in Wednesday’s second inning.
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

NEW YORK — The Cubs spent three months unable to explain why they couldn’t play well or win much on the road. So don’t expect them to explain this sudden burst of four consecutive road victories, including a 10-7 win against Noah Syndergaard and the Mets on Wednesday night.

They just know “it’s huge,” said Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks. “It feels great. We’ve been fighting our tails off, and finally to have results come through just [validates] the work we’ve been doing.”

The victory gave the Cubs back-to-back road series wins after 12 consecutive winless road series. It also closed the gap on the first-place Cardinals in the National League Central to two games with 30 left.

“We have a very good ballclub. We have tried and true, tested playoff kind of guys,” manager Joe Maddon said. “So there’s no reason why we shouldn’t win on the road.”

The Cubs face reigning Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom in the series finale Thursday before returning home.

The road euphoria Wednesday — which included 10 runs to knock out Syndergaard after three innings — was plenty of balm for Hendricks’ struggles on a night he couldn’t get out of the fifth.

By the ninth, the Cubs had a save situation for closer Craig Kimbrel, who put the first two Mets on base before retiring the final three.

“A win’s a win, whether it’s by 10 runs or one run,” said Nick Castellanos, whose third-inning home run made it 10-1.

One night after beating Marcus Stroman 5-2 to win the series opener, the Cubs jumped on Syndergaard for six first-inning runs on five hits, a walk and a hit batter.

The inning included a two-run homer by Ian Happ and a run-scoring double by Kyle Schwarber, who added a two-run homer (Cubs season-high 31st) one inning later.

“We’re not satisfied here with a series victory though,” Hendricks said. “We’re looking to come out tomorrow and get a big one from Jon [Lester] and sweep.”

Rizzo update

First baseman Anthony Rizzo said he doesn’t think his aching back will be well enough to allow him to play Thursday, but he hopes to return this weekend against the Brewers.

“Let’s see how this goes,” said Rizzo, who planned to “push it” more in taking swings in the batting cage Wednesday.

He hasn’t played since leaving the game Saturday when something “grabbed out of nowhere” in the middle of his back as he left the field between innings.

“It’s feeling a lot better now than it did then,” said Rizzo, who missed several days early this season with soreness in a different part of his back. “It’s getting there. Hopefully just a couple days to get it to calm down and just manage it.”

Contreras update

All-Star catcher Willson Contreras (hamstring) might be ready as early as this weekend to start a brief minor-league rehab assignment with Class AAA Iowa.

“As of right now, he’s trending very well, and the trainers are very happy,” manager Joe Maddon said.

Contreras, who hasn’t played since Aug. 3, might bat as the designated hitter for a game or two before easing into catching duties, with an anticipated return to the big-league roster a few days after Labor Day.