'Hendo' not left out of Cubs' offensive surge

Pitcher has two hits, two RBIs in 7th vs. Phils; also stars on mound

August 27th, 2017

PHILADELPHIA -- The biggest inning in the Cubs' best offensive game of the year was bookended with hits from an unlikely source.

Starting pitcher had two hits in the frame, including a two-run double which was the final blow in a seven-run seventh inning for the Cubs in their 17-2 win over the Phillies on Saturday.

Hendricks (aka "Hendo" on Players Weekend) was sharp on the mound, allowing just two runs on six hits while striking out eight and walking nobody in seven innings. But he will remember this game more for what he did with the bat.

Hendricks started the seventh by grounding a base hit off Phillies reliever through the left side. It was his second hit in as many games and his fourth on the season.

He was just getting started.

Nine batters and five runs later, Hendricks came to the dish again, this time with two runners on and two outs against Jesen Therrien. Hendricks got ahead in the count, 3-0, before lining a 3-1 fastball into the right-center gap for a two-run double -- just the second extra-base hit of his career and first since 2015. It put the Cubs up, 9-2, and elated the bench.

"I was thinking about [the possibility of getting two hits in an inning]," Hendricks said. "I fell behind, 3-0, and I thought I could take the walk maybe. Then, 3-1, I just closed my eyes and got lucky, I guess. It happens."

Hendricks ended up getting plenty of run support, but he did fall behind early. Phillies rookie , the hottest power hitter in baseball, sent a low, 1-2 changeup from Hendricks into the left-field seats in the first inning to put the Phillies up, 2-0.

In the six innings after the homer, though, Hendricks allowed only four hits and no Phillie got beyond second base.

"He might've had a two-hit shutout for the whole game, other than [Hoskins]," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Kyle was really good."

Hendricks appears to be hitting his stride in August. Over his last five starts, the 27-year-old has a 2.64 ERA and has pitched at least six innings in four of the outings.

"I just feel so much more connected with my mechanics," Hendricks said. "It's been a process the last four or five games, it just started to click more and more every game. Today was more of the same."