Cubs snap nine-game skid, but David Ross knows there’s a lot of work to do

The four-day All-Star break will allow the Cubs to physically heal, but Ross is determined to remind his players of the improvements and corrections that will be imperative in the second half.

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Willson Contreras high-fives Ian Happ after the Cubs beat the Mets on Sunday at Wrigley Field.

Willson Contreras high-fives Ian Happ after the Cubs beat the Mets on Sunday at Wrigley Field.

Chase Agnello-Dean/Getty Images

Cubs manager David Ross plans to hit the reset button before a Friday morning workout in Philadelphia.

The four-day All-Star break will allow the Cubs to physically heal, but Ross is determined to remind his players of the improvements and corrections that will be imperative in the second half.

Ross can use dependable shortstop Nico Hoerner as a prime example of overcoming mistakes.

After missing the tag on Francisco Lindor during a rundown in which a run scored in the first inning, Hoerner gained the ultimate redemption by hitting a tiebreaking single that scored Willson Contreras with two outs in the eighth inning to give the Cubs a 3-2 victorySunday against the Mets that snapped a nine-game losing streak.

‘‘When you lose a lot of games in a row, you almost forget what it feels like [to win],” said Adrian Sampson, who threw a career-high 112 pitches in 5⅓ innings while attempting to preserve a taxed bullpen and said he was prepared to throw 150 pitches if needed.

Contreras, who might have played his last game as a Cub at Wrigley Field, provided the 34,424 fans with a memory to treasure with a single during the two-run rally that snapped a 1-for-33 slump.

“Whether it was me or someone else to have that momentum, have the big swing we’ve been missing, it felt very good,” Hoerner said.

Nelson Velazquez, who made an errant throw that contributed to a loss at Dodger Stadium last weekend, made amends with a strong, accurate one-hop throw from left field to home plate to nail Lindor and end the top of the eighth.

These developments reversed a trend that saw the Cubs (35-57) pay for virtually every mistake during their skid, in which seven of their nine losses were by two runs or fewer.

“We’ve lost way too many in a row, whether you want to talk about close games or not,” Ross said.

It was a mild contrast from the previous night when Ross was asked whether the series finale was more important because of a possible carryover effect from the losing streak into the break.

“These guys keep giving effort every single day, a day-night doubleheader against a first-place team with a $300 million payroll, and these guys are fighting their ass off,” Ross said shortly after Frank Schwindel grounded into a bases-loaded double play to cap a 4-3 loss and a doubleheader sweep by the Mets.

“So I’m really proud of that.”

Much of Ross’ pregame session revolved around the individual improvement from Hoerner, starting pitchers Keegan Thompson and Justin Steele, relievers Scott Effross and Brandon Hughes and All-Stars Ian Happ and Contreras.

But the inability of the starters to pitch deep into games (because of their struggles and pitch-count limits), the lack of clutch hitting and the defensive mistakes have translated into a pace for 100 losses — their first triple-digit loss total since 2012 — despite recent series wins over the Braves, Cardinals, Red Sox and Brewers.

“I think we all know we’re not where we want to be,” Ross said before the game. “The difficult challenges we go through make us better every single day, myself included. The players being in the environments they’re put in right now, we’ll be able to handle those moments better in the long run.”

The last 70 games could dictate who will be around for the long run and what roles they will fill.

Nick Madrigal is expected to return from a groin injury shortly after the All-Star break, and his ability to stay healthy and produce at the plate could determine whether he will be the Cubs’ answer at second base.

“This is a good reminder for guys that are in the clubhouse,” Sampson said of finally snapping the losing streak. “This game is hard.”

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