Cubs snap 12-game losing streak as Kyle Hendricks wins MLB-leading 14th game
Hendricks was coming off one of the worst starts of his career, but he looked calm, cool and collected in leading the Cubs to a 2-1 victory.
CINCINNATI — There’s no question that Kyle Hendricks is the Cubs’ best starting pitcher. On Tuesday night, he also was their best chance to snap their MLB-worst 12-game losing streak.
Hendricks was coming off one of the worst starts of his career — a career-high nine earned runs over four innings against the Brewers last Thursday. But the Hendricks who came out against the Reds looked calm, cool and collected, and he didn’t let the Cubs down in a 2-1 victory.
“It was a good feeling in the clubhouse,” said Hendricks, who won his MLB-leading 14th game. “Obviously, with what we’ve been going through lately, [it was nice] just to finally see a [winning] result.”
Hendricks rolled through the Reds’ lineup his first time through the order as he got into a rhythm with catcher Austin Romine, mixing in a few walks here and there. He held the Reds hitless through four innings before Tyler Naquin hit a soft liner into center field with one out in the fifth.
Despite having runners at first and second, Hendricks didn’t get rattled. He struck out Shogo Akiyama before getting Vladimir Gutierrez to ground out to end the inning.
The game tightened for Hendricks in the sixth after he gave up a long solo homer to former Cub Nick Castellanos, trimming the Cubs’ lead to one. But he got out of the inning without any more damage.
He allowed just one run and three hits over six innings, walking three batters and striking out three.
“I thought that was an all-around clean game for us,” manager David Ross said. “Good pitching is going to prevail in that. Kyle giving us the start he did was huge. It starts with your starting pitching, getting that kind of performance from him. Working out of the jam there late was really nice, and then the bullpen holding it down.”
The Cubs’ quest to avoid the franchise record for consecutive losses wasn’t without some late drama. After Hendricks’ departure, right-hander Rowan Wick got into some trouble, loading the bases in the seventh. Wick struck out Jonathan India before Ross turned to left-hander Adam Morgan to face Joey Votto. Morgan had no trouble with the longtime Reds first baseman, getting him to ground out to end the threat.
The Cubs got just enough offense, and with Hendricks on the mound, they didn’t need much. After Frank Schwindel’s RBI double in the third, Ian Happ (3-for-4) hit a solo homer in the sixth.
“Looks like he’s found his rhythm [over] the last little bit,” Ross said of Happ. “He seems to be taking some better swings. So hopefully he can continue to do that, but that’s a really nice sign from him tonight.”
It was the Cubs’ first victory since Aug. 4 and just their second in their last 14 games. They’ll now focus on their first series win since July 23-25 against the Diamondbacks.
“That’s our focus, man,” Hendricks said. “We come in every day, and we’re still going out trying to win a ballgame. Nothing really changes for us. . . . We’re all in it together as a whole going out and trying to take it pitch-by-pitch in the at-bats and execute pitch-by-pitch on the mound. The focus doesn’t change for us.”