Single run all hendricks needs
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that the Cubs’ last two 1-0 victories have come with right-hander Kyle Hendricks on the mound.
Hendricks stymied the Twins for eight innings Friday as the Cubs claimed their fifth consecutive victory in the opener of a threegame interleague series.
With the wind blowing in at Wrigley Field, Hendricks (6-4) allowed only one runner past first base. That came in the first inning, when he stranded runners at the corners.
From there, he and catcher Willson Contreras decided to lean more on the curveball after noticing the Twins sitting on his changeup.
‘‘This is the goal, obviously,’’ Hendricks said. ‘‘The key was that, mentally, I was just locked in on the glove, working pitch to pitch, not working too quick.’’
Hendricks, who allowed only three singles and retired 12 batters in a row at one point, finished with a season-high 10 strikeouts and lowered his ERA to 2.93.
The Cubs’ last 1-0 victory had been Aug. 22 of last season against the Giants. Hendricks worked the first seven innings in that game.
Contreras’ RBI single in the first accounted for all the scoring. That came after Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant had opened with walks against 40-year-old left-hander Rich Hill.
Jeremy Jeffress worked the ninth for his eighth save in nine tries.
Slumping Ian Happ, who had started all but four games this season, was given a scheduled break Friday before entering as a defensive replacement in center field in the ninth.
Manager David Ross said he and Happ discussed their options earlier in the week and agreed a little more rest would be prudent after the Cubs’ day off Thursday. Happ, who last sat Sept. 4, is slugging .200 with no home runs and 18 strikeouts in his last 51 plate appearances.
Ross hinted he was looking to rest other members of the Cubs’ everyday core before the postseason begins.
‘‘This being my first season [as a manager], I just try to watch with a helpful eye and [make] sure things look crisp,’’ Ross said. ‘‘Whether it’s coming out of the box or their swing or running the bases or defensive jumps. Just keeping a pulse on guys, whether it’s mental frustration, physical fatigue or matchups.’’
Left-handers Jose Quintana and Andrew Chafin are nearing a return from the injured list, Ross said. Chafin (sprained finger) was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday, and Quintana (lat inflammation) has a simulated game set for Saturday.
Chafin, who was acquired from the Diamondbacks at the trade deadline Aug. 31, has yet to make his Cubs debut.
While acknowledging the emotion of lefthander Jon Lester’s potential Wrigley Field farewell Wednesday, Ross said he’s optimistic his close friend and former teammate will return in 2021.
‘‘I don’t see it as his last start here for me,’’ Ross said. ‘‘I see him coming back. That’s my hope . . . . I think he’s got a lot more to do in this game. I know 200 wins is a goal.’’
Lester has 192 career victories. ✶
Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks allowed three hits and struck out 10 in eight scoreless innings Friday.