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Cubs flip the Sunday script, pick up series win

9 months agoTony Andracki

In baseball, there’s a stat for everything.

And the numbers indicate the Cubs have not found very much success on Sundays all season.

They entered play this weekend with the Royals sporting a 5-15 record on Sundays, which was the second-worst mark in the league (better only than the Oakland A’s).

And on this Sunday, the Cubs were vying for a series victory against the Royals at Wrigley Field.

They accomplished exactly that, flipping the season script by picking up a 4-3 victory that clinched a winning homestand (3-2) against a pair of rebuilding teams.

Kyle Hendricks allowed a run in the top of the 1st inning but settled in from there, keeping the Royals at bay. He tallied a quality start, tossing 6.1 innings before giving way to Mark Leiter Jr. in the 7th.

One of the keys Hendricks pointed to in his outing was making adjustments early in the game based on how the opposing lineup was attacking him. He has been working to identify and execute those adjustments earlier in outings recently and it paid off in a game that took only 2 hours, 2 minutes to complete.

“It was a quick game. We were getting ahead of guys,” Hendricks said. “Really had to make some adjustments there pretty quick. They were on the heater today. But still, got some quick outs, stayed on the attack, a lot of good things overall — what I’ve been working on.

“Miggy [Amaya] was great. Yan [Gomes] was great in between innings, the two of them sitting down together and seeing what [the Royals] were trying to do against me. Putting up a few runs early made all the plays behind me. Just a clean game overall. Good win.”

Offensively, the Cubs took advantage of the Royals’ mistake in the 1st inning when Kansas City center fielder Kyle Isbel misplayed Ian Happ’s single. That led to Nico Hoerner coming around to score and sent Happ to third, where he scored a couple of pitches later on Cody Bellinger’s sacrifice fly.

Seiya Suzuki and Miguel Amaya added some important insurance with a home run apiece.

“Those were big runs,” David Ross said. “We’ve done a nice job of that over the season, probably as good as any team I’ve been a manager of. We’ve done a nice job of adding on runs. The hits from Seiya and Miggy were huge. Miggy did a nice job behind the plate, I thought, as well, handling Kyle.”

Those insurance runs proved to be vital as the Royals put together a rally in the 9th against Cubs closer Adbert Alzolay and pushed across 2 runs. Alzolay ultimately stranded the tying run on second to shut the door and pick up his 18th save of the season.

“That’s the guy we have at the back end. He’s had a lot of success for us,” Ross said. “… Adbert’s done a phenomenal job for us. Whether he doesn’t close it out right there or he does, that doesn’t diminish how we’re gonna do things moving forward. He’s been a big part of our success.”

The Cubs are now 64-59 and tied for the final National League Wild-Card spot. They head to Detroit this week for a 3-game series with the Tigers.

“We’re having so much fun in there right now,” Hendricks said. “This is an awesome group. Guys just like having a good time and like winning. Winning is the No. 1 focus and it’s always better when you’re winning. We’re having a good time in the clubhouse.

“It’s just such a close-knit group, picking one another up day in and day out. We’re playing good baseball, focused on the fundamentals. One day at a time. We’re in a good spot, just gotta go on a good stretch here and keep it going.”

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