Cubs seal 1-0 win with record-tying 7th DP

Hamels delivers 7 stellar innings; Schwarber homers in 2nd

August 18th, 2018

PITTSBURGH -- Cole Hamels remains unblemished in a Cubs uniform.

In his fourth start with Chicago since being acquired from Texas, Hamels struck out three over seven innings as the Cubs handed the Pirates a 1-0 loss for the second straight night at PNC Park on Friday. The Cubs have won each of Hamels' four starts, and the southpaw is now 3-0 with the club after starting the season 5-9.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Hamels didn't have his "top-shelf stuff" on Friday, as he gave up five hits and walked a pair of batters. But he was backed by a defense that turned five double plays with him on the mound before adding two more later on, including the last play of the game -- tying the Major League record for a nine-inning game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

It had been nearly 50 years since the last time a team completed the feat. Houston turned seven in a win over the Giants on May 4, 1969, and the Yankees did it against the A's on Aug. 14, 1942, per Elias.

"There's days where you get those ground balls and you get those double plays. And just, gosh, it's surprising the matter of how many we were able to get," Hamels said. "But they are a pitcher's best friend. Just to see how great they stayed with it, and were able to pull that off, especially to end innings and stop rallies. With such a tight game, you can't afford one mistake. And the guys just came through."

For the second night in a row, a solo home run provided the Cubs with all the offense needed to prevail. After Chicago hit into a double play of its own in the second inning, launched a 1-0 fastball from Pirates right-hander into the right-field seats for the game's only run.

Despite producing just two runs over the past two nights, the Cubs extended their winning streak to three games. They've now won seven of the last 10 and opened a 4 1/2-game lead over the Brewers for first place in the National League Central. The addition of Hamels, coupled with the recent success of and , has helped energize a squad that has propelled itself into being a front-runner in the pennant race.

"Everybody goes out there, they play to win," said Hamels, whose ERA with the Cubs is 0.72. "They're doing everything they possibly can. I know even if the results aren't backing up on the stat sheet at the end of the day, guys were out there trying their best. I think just to be able to see and recognize that guys are going to pick up each other, that's what you've got to love about a team."

Hamels was removed after seven innings, and the Cubs used a quartet of relievers -- , , and -- to combine for two stifling innings and secure their NL-best 71st win.

"[Hamels] pitched with his heart, and he pitched with his brain today," Maddon said. "That's how we got through this. I think what he learned tonight was that our defense can play for him, and that's a good thing for a pitcher to know."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Record-tying twin killing: Clinging to the one-run lead, the Cubs turned to Cishek in the ninth inning. The right-hander gave up a leadoff single to Corey Dickerson and threw a wild pitch during his at-bat with , allowing the potential tying run to move into scoring position. Cishek struck out Marte on five pitches, then was lifted for Chavez.

Fittingly, the game ended when, after walking , Chavez induced an inning-ending double play from .

SOUND SMART

• It was the third time a Cub has homered in a 1-0 victory this season. did it on Thursday, and Schwarber repeated his feat from an April 26 win over the Brewers.

• The Cubs are just the fourth team since 1908 to win back-to-back games 1-0 with a home run in each game. The Giants accomplished the feat early this season on March 29-30. The Angels did it July 15-17, 1964, and the Tigers did it May 10-11, 1960.

HE SAID IT

"There's always going to be days where you're not as sharp and [I'm] not able to punch out as many guys as what I think I'm kind of used to. But at the same time, you have to pitch. And that's what I've kind of learned throughout my career. You have to pitch. You can make great games with whatever you have. And I think that's what I've really tried to focus on as I've been able to learn." -- Hamels, on his performance

UP NEXT

will make a spot start against the Pirates at PNC Park on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. CT. Chatwood, working in place of the injured Mike Montgomery, has made 19 starts for the Cubs this season, posting a 4-5 record with a 4.98 ERA. He's issued an MLB-high 90 walks in 2018 through 22 appearances. Right-hander Joe Musgrove will start for Pittsburgh.