PHOENIX (AP) — Kyle Hendricks took a one-hit shutout into the ninth inning and the Chicago Cubs three-hit the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 5-1 win Monday night to open their important three-game series.
Hendricks (12-11) struck out eight and walked one. A.J. Pollock hit a leadoff homer against Hendricks in the ninth and Paul Goldschmidt added a two-out single before Justin Wilson relieved and closed things out.
Javier Baez homered in Chicago’s three-run sixth inning that broke open what had been a pitcher’s duel between Hendricks and Patrick Corbin (11-6).
Kris Bryant also homered, and the Cubs maintained their 2 1/2-game lead in the NL Central after second-place Milwaukee beat Cincinnati earlier Monday.
The Diamondbacks led the NL West when the month began but opened the day four games behind first-place Colorado. Arizona has lost 8 of 10 to fall five games out of the second wild card.
The Cubs were struggling on offense, coming off a weekend series in which they scored only five runs in three games. They thrilled a largely pro-Chicago crowd at Chase Field in the sixth, when Albert Almora Jr. and Bryant led off with back-to-back singles. Bryant worked an eight-pitch at-bat against Corbin before his base hit that moved Almora to third base.
Anthony Rizzo hit into a fielder’s choice to drive in Almora, and Baez followed with a line drive into the seats in left-center field to make it 3-0.
The sea of blue-and-white-clad Cubs fans roared as Baez rounded the bases.
Bryant went opposite field for his 12th home run, a two-run shot in the eighth off reliever Randall Delgado.
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras ran hard after making contact in his at-bats Monday, including on a deep fly to center in the fourth that was caught. Cubs manager Joe Maddon criticized Contreras for admiring a long fly ball that ended in a double during a 2-1 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday. Maddon said Monday he thought the criticism had gotten out of hand.
Players from the NBA’s Phoenix Suns were introduced before the game, as the Diamondbacks recognized their downtown neighbors whose season opens next month. Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson, Mikal Bridges, Elie Okobo, De’Anthony Melton and Shaquille Harrison were in attendance, with Ariza throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.
Cubs: OF Kyle Schwarber and IF Tommy La Stella did not make the trip to Phoenix due to back injuries. ... RHP Brandon Morrow (forerarm) could return from the disabled list in the next few days. He’s been out since mid-July. ... SS Addison Russell was checked by a trainer after stretching across the second base bag in an attempt to complete a double play in the fifth inning. He stayed in the game.
Cubs: LHP Mike Montgomery (4-5) is set to face Arizona on Tuesday night, his career-high 17th start of the season.
Diamondbacks: Arizona announced before Monday’s game that right-hander Matt Andriese is slated to start Tuesday’s game against the Cubs. Andriese (3-5) started four games for Tampa Bay before being traded to the Diamondbacks.