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Hendricks leaves frustrated after tough night

Righty allows six runs in 2 2/3 as Cubs fall to 1-6 on road trip
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

LOS ANGELES -- Kyle Hendricks is physically fine, but something is off mechanically and the Cubs right-hander is struggling to figure out how to get back on track.

Max Muncy hit a solo homer in a three-run first and Joc Pederson smacked a two-run shot in a three-run second off Hendricks to lift the Dodgers to a 7-5 victory over the Cubs on Wednesday night. Cody Bellinger added an insurance homer in the eighth, raising the Dodgers' National League-leading home run total to 107.

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LOS ANGELES -- Kyle Hendricks is physically fine, but something is off mechanically and the Cubs right-hander is struggling to figure out how to get back on track.

Max Muncy hit a solo homer in a three-run first and Joc Pederson smacked a two-run shot in a three-run second off Hendricks to lift the Dodgers to a 7-5 victory over the Cubs on Wednesday night. Cody Bellinger added an insurance homer in the eighth, raising the Dodgers' National League-leading home run total to 107.

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Willson Contreras provided most of the Cubs' offense, hitting a two-run homer in the first and a two-run double in the eighth.

Video: CHC@LAD: Contreras laces a 2-run double to the gap

Hendricks threw 31 pitches in the first and lasted 2 2/3 innings, the second-shortest start of his career. The six earned runs allowed matched his career high, set on June 19, 2015, against the Twins.

"I feel healthy," Hendricks said. "It's just terrible right now. It's tough. The bullpen kept us in the game, and the way the boys battled at the plate, even bringing it close there [in the eighth], that was huge. The way the bullpen is, you can't have that kind of outing right now. It's disappointing."

June has been a rough month for Hendricks, who dropped to 1-4 and has served up 19 earned runs over 24 1/3 innings.

"Velocity-wise is good. His arm feels great," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "The execution is just not there like he normally does, and that's it, that was the ballgame.

"I don't think the normal movement is there right now," Maddon said. "He's either throwing it through the break or something is off with his hand position. There are more fly balls than we're used to seeing and more walks than we're used to seeing. I'm happy he's physically fine."

Video: CHC@LAD: Maddon on the road loss, Henricks' start

Last season, Hendricks dealt with a hand injury, but that's not the problem.

"I'm just searching right now," Hendricks said. "It's just bad. Mechanics, I'm trying to focus mentally and going pitch to pitch, and I'm doing that, but something's just off.

"Challenge is just an opportunity. I've got to take advantage of it, work hard and get through it."

This has been a difficult road trip for the Cubs, period. Hendricks started it last Thursday with a loss to the Reds. In the seven games so far, Cubs' pitchers have been charged with 44 earned runs over 57 innings for a 6.95 ERA. The team is 1-6 with one more game away from Wrigley Field on Thursday against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

The Cubs have called up five pitchers from the Minor Leagues on this trip, but the staff could get a boost soon. The club could find out on Thursday whether Yu Darvish is ready to return to the rotation, possibly as soon as Saturday. Tyler Chatwood (paternity leave) could be back this weekend as well.

Video: CHC@LAD: Jansen seals the win with four-out save

After the Cubs brought the potential tying run to the plate in the eighth and ninth innings, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was glad his bullpen held on for the win, with Kenley Jansen working the final four outs to pick up his 21st save.

"For us, [Hendricks] has given us fits over the last few years," Roberts said. "Today we had some good at-bats early and took the walk when we needed to and we slugged him, which was great. We had opportunities to break the game open and we didn't capitalize, and like any good club, they clawed their way back."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Good start: With two outs in the first, Javier Baez picked up where he left off and doubled to right. Baez, who had four hits on Tuesday, then scored on Contreras' home run off a 1-2 knuckle curve from Alex Wood.

"I probably should have gone somewhere else," Wood said of his pitch to Contreras. "It was a really good pitch I threw, he's not great on spin, caught me by surprise. I was shocked he put that swing on it. Sometimes they get you."

Video: CHC@LAD: Contreras clubs a 2-run homer to left

Smart play: Heads-up baserunning by Ian Happ resulted in another Cubs run in the fifth. With two outs, Happ was at second base and Jason Heyward dribbled a ball down the first-base line. Wood tried to make a glove-flip to Muncy at first, but the ball got away. Heyward was safe with a single and Happ slid home safely, narrowly getting under catcher Yasmani Grandal's tag.

Video: CHC@LAD: Heyward brings in Happ on close play at home

SOUND SMART
With the loss, the Cubs dropped to 22-21 on the road this season, and are 3-9 in their last 12 regular-season games at Dodger Stadium.

HE SAID IT
"We've put together good at-bats, the bullpen has pitched really well. It's just been one blowup here or there, and it's been killing us. We're taking it pitch to pitch and really battling out there and grinding. You go through stretches like this in baseball. This team is tough enough that we're definitely going to get through it." -- Hendricks, on this tough road trip

UP NEXT
Jose Quintana will be making his third career start against the Dodgers in Thursday's 2:10 p.m. CT series finale. He has not faced them in the regular season since June 2014, when he threw six shutout innings and lost while pitching with the White Sox. Quintana did face the Dodgers twice in the NLCS last October -- Games 1 and 5 -- and the Cubs lost both. The Dodgers will counter with Kershaw, who will be making his first start at Dodger Stadium since May 31.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Kyle Hendricks