Daniel Murphy keeps raking at Wrigley with 2 homers; Cubs’ skid at 3
Cubs fans have become painfully familiar with Daniel Murphy.
In the 2015 National League Championship Series, he hit .529 with four home runs in the Mets’ four-game sweep of the Cubs.
Though those demons were exorcised with a World Series title last season, Murphy still has the Cubs’ number, even in a different uniform.
Murphy hit a two-run homer in the first inning and a solo shot in the sixth, leading the Nationals to a 4-2 victory Friday at Wrigley Field.
Both homers came against Kyle Hendricks (4-4), who worked seven innings, his longest start since May 24. But he allowed two homers in a game for the third time this season. He allowed that many only three times in his career before this year.
“He’s a great hitter,’’ Hendricks said of Murphy, who now has 19 homers and 76 RBI. “Tip your hat.
In his last 10 games at Wrigley, including the playoffs, Murphy is batting .526 (20-for-38) with four home runs and six RBI.
Hendricks missed about seven weeks with tendinitis in his right hand before returning July 24. He said he was pleased with his progress.
“Pitch efficiency is much better,” Hendricks said. “It clicked right there about the fourth inning. I started getting some quicker outs, quicker innings. When you get through seven, it felt real good.”
Tanner Roark (9-7) limited the Cubs to five hits, the last a two-run homer in the seventh by Javy Baez.
Baez tried repeating the feat in the ninth with Jason Heyward on base but struck out against closer Sean Doolittle (fifth save).
“I was trying to do too much,’’ Baez said. “They got us early in the game. Kyle threw a great game. We just didn’t come back with enough.
“We’re facing good competition, especially with Washington. They have great pitching and hitting.’’
But the Cubs won’t face the Nationals’ best pitching. Stephen Strasburg is on the DL with a nerve impingement in his right elbow. Gio Gonzalez, who was supposed to start Saturday, is going on paternity leave. And Max Scherzer last pitched Tuesday, so he’s missing the series.
Instead, the Cubs will face former Cub Edwin Jackson on Saturday and Erick Fedde on Sunday. Fedde will make his second career start.
The Cubs put the leadoff man on in the first two innings and the second batter on in the third but couldn’t score. They had a baserunner in every inning but one, the fifth.
“We were behind but fought back,’’ Maddon said. “There’s nothing wrong with the fight. We played pretty good defense, and Kyle pitched well. Offensively, we have to do better.’’
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