Sin­gle run all hen­dricks needs

Chicago Sun-Times - - CUBS BEAT - Mike Berardino

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.

HAPP RESTS

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.’’

RE­IN­FORCE­MENTS

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.

FU­TURE VI­SION

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. ✶

GETTY IM­AGES

Cubs starter Kyle Hen­dricks al­lowed three hits and struck out 10 in eight score­less in­nings Fri­day.

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