Homers back Arrieta as Cubs sweep Mets
NEW YORK -- The Cubs continued to dominate the Mets by finishing off a season sweep -- and their ninth consecutive win against the Queens club -- with a 6-1 win Thursday at Citi Field. The seven total runs were more than in the series' first two games combined.
Jake Arrieta was excellent in yet another day game, holding the Mets to a single run in eight innings. He picked up his eighth win of the season and lowered his season ERA in day games to 2.65. Jacob deGrom allowed four runs in a game for the first time since May 11, and just the third time this season. His second-inning run snapped a scoreless streak that had stretched to over two full games for the Mets.
"I can't sit here and tell you we bludgeoned them," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said after completing the sweep. "It's going to work for them. They've got some really talented young players too."
The Cubs scored first by doing what the Mets couldn't last night, executing a successful squeeze bunt in the second inning to score Chris Coghlan. Anthony Rizzo contributed an RBI single in the fifth inning, and Jonathan Herrera and Miguel Montero hit two-run home runs in the sixth and ninth, respectively.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Murphy's Law of Averages: Recently returned third baseman Daniel Murphy may be hitting, but his defense hurt the club Thursday. Murphy misplayed a fairly routine Starlin Castro grounder to third then threw the ball away, allowing Castro to advance to second. One batter later, Rizzo drove Castro in with the go-ahead run. For the second straight day, Castro hustled to beat out a soft grounder. And for the second straight day, that hustle made a big difference. More >
A run, finally: Curtis Granderson's double in the bottom of the third inning scored deGrom, putting an end to more than two full games of offensive ineptitude from the Mets. When deGrom touched home plate, he became the first Met to score in 22 2/3 innings -- the Mets' longest scoreless streak since May 14-16, 2014. More >
Herrera hits one high and far: Maddon said before the game that backup infielder Herrera always "seems to do something good when we put him in there." Herrera's .229 batting average proves that's hyperbole, but he also proved his manager correct in this instance. Filling in for starting third baseman Kris Bryant, Herrera's successful squeeze bunt brought home the game's first run in the second, and his sixth-inning two-run homer extended the Chicago lead. The blast was Herrera's first since July 7, 2013.
"He's probably one of the best bunters I've had in a long time," Maddon said. "I know he popped the ball up yesterday on the bunt, but he's really, really solid with the bunt. And he's had some big hits for us."
All Arrieta: Arrieta became the third Cubs starter to dominate the Mets this week by inducing nine groundouts and striking out seven. By some measures, he was the best one yet. Arietta needed just 98 pitches and breezed through eight innings. New York managed just five hits and just one from the sixth inning on. That's becoming routine for that team. But for Arrieta, the outcome was familiar as well. The righty entered the top 10 on the National League ERA leader board by dipping his mark to 2.80.
"The most important part of it is executing," Arrieta said. "That's what [the staff] is doing well, for the most part." More >
"We haven't had a touchdown in a while in here," -- Maddon, on his breakout offense. The six runs were Chicago's most in 10 games
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Strange but true: Thursday's win allowed the Cubs to sweep the season series from the Mets, 7-0. Only three times in franchise history has Chicago swept a season series of at least seven games from a single team. The last time was in 1885, when the Cubs took all 15 games that year from Buffalo.
When Murphy strayed too far off of first base, Montero took his shot. He sprung to his feet and threw to first, just ahead of a diving Murphy, who was called safe. A one-minute, seven-second review showed Cubs first baseman Rizzo's foot blocked Murphy's hand from the basepath, and he was called out.
It was the Cubs' 25th challenge of the season. Of those, 13 have resulted in an overturned call.
Cubs: Jason Hammel goes for the Cubs as they begin a 10-game homestand to close out the first half. First up are the Marlins, who took two of three from the Cubs in an early June series. It'll be a Friday day game at Wrigley Field to begin the holiday weekend with a 1:20 p.m. CT start.
Mets: The Mets will continue a brutal July schedule, traveling to Los Angeles for a series with the Dodgers. Noah Syndergaard (3-4, 3.59 ERA) will get the ball, squaring off with Clayton Kershaw. First pitch is set for Friday at 10:10 p.m. ET.
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