NEW YORK -- The Cubs continued to play the spoiler role on Wednesday night at Citi Field. They scored six runs in the first inning and cruised to a 6-3 win over the Mets to complete a three-game sweep.
“That was an awesome series for the Cubs,” said left-hander Drew Smyly, who won his seventh game of the season. “Everyone played well. It shows how much young talent that we have -- a lot of guys that are capable. At this point of our season, it’s about showing how consistent we can be.”
By beating the Mets, the Cubs helped the Braves -- who lost to the Giants earlier in the day -- remain just a half-game behind the first-place Mets in the National League East.
“I feel like we played good teams really well,” Cubs catcher Yan Gomes said. “... This time, we just came in here and we know we are a good ballclub. We can compete with anybody and we are starting to show it.”
Throughout the three-game series, the Cubs produced clutch hits, most recently in the first inning on Wednesday. They forced two Mets pitchers -- starter David Peterson and Trevor Williams -- to throw a combined 45 pitches that inning.
Peterson had a tough time throwing strikes. The first three hitters he faced walked to load the bases. After Patrick Wisdom struck out, Gomes doubled to right field, scoring Christopher Morel and Seiya Suzuki to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead.
P.J. Higgins followed and sent Framil Reyes and Gomes home by lacing a double that landed on the right-field line. Michael Hermosillo and Nelson Velázquez followed with run-scoring hits of their own to cap the six-run inning.
“Patience is the first thing [that comes to mind],” Cubs manager David Ross said about the first inning. “We start with three walks and [Peterson] had a lot of 3-2 counts. Guys were committed to their approach. … That was kind of the game. The Mets bring in Trevor. We added a couple of more. We did a nice job staying inside some baseballs. Some balls fell for us.”
The Cubs’ pitching was just as good as it was the previous two nights. This time, it was Smyly’s turn on the mound and, like Javier Assad and Adrian Sampson before him, Smyly confused New York with his fastball and breaking pitches.
Smyly went five innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and one walk while striking out five batters. The earned run he gave up came on a home run by Tomás Nido in the third inning.
“I feel like Drew Smyly has been doing that all year,” Gomes said. “He keeps us in ballgames. He throws strikes when he needs to. He keeps guys off-balance with everything that he has. It’s always a fun time having him out there.”
After the game, Smyly talked about his future with the Cubs. He is a free agent after this season and made it clear that he wants to remain a member of the team. He said his agent and the Cubs’ front office have not yet talked about an extension.
“If the Cubs reached out, I would love to have that conversation,” Smyly said.
Asked why he loved Chicago, Smyly said: “Just the people, the culture, the city, Wrigley [Field], all of it. I love our staff. I love our team. It’s really fun showing up to work every day. The Cubs are on the right path. They are going to be very competitive in the near future. Everyone loves their job, and it’s a good environment to be in.”
Since the All-Star break, Chicago has been playing better baseball, going 26-25. For Ross, the record speaks about the character of the Cubs.
“The guys come in every single day, play hard. They want to get better. They want to work. They root for each other,” Ross said. “They pull on the same end of the rope. It’s fun to come to work with these guys. They battle. They do their best every single day and work hard to get better.”
For the Mets, they have learned the hard way that teams like the Cubs are not easy to beat even though Chicago is 21 games under .500.
"It doesn't matter who's on the other side. We can't take it for granted,” Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor said. “We've got to respect our opponent. Hats off to the Cubs. They came in. They played well. They executed. They pitched well. They hit with people on base. They walked. They played better than us. So hats off to them."