Mets manage only two hits in 2-0 loss to Cubs

The Mets managed just two hits in their 2-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night.

Marcus Stroman didn't get off to an ideal start, letting up a one-out single to Kris Bryant and then a two-run homer to Javier Baez that gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Stroman would get Anthony Rizzo to fly out to center field and then struck out Willson Contreras looking to end the side.

Stroman began to get in a groove, striking out two Cubs in the second and another in the third inning. Jason Heyward singled with one away in the fourth inning, and moved to second base on a ground out to short. Stroman threw a wild pitch that allowed Heyward to move to third, but he escaped without any damage by getting a groundout back to him.

Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks walked Pete Alonso and Dom Smith back-to-back to start the bottom of the fourth inning. Hendricks caught a break as James McCann hit into the 6-4-3 double play, and Billy McKinney grounded out softly to end the inning.

Kevin Pillar robbed Joc Pederson of a home run to center field for the second out of the fifth inning. Stroman cheered on from the mound, and used that energy to strike out Bryant looking for a 1-2-3 inning. The former Duke star recorded another 1-2-3 inning in the sixth, giving him eight consecutive starts of at least 6.0 IP.

Alonso stole a base hit away from Sergio Alcantara, diving to the bag in time to record the final out of the seventh inning and showing why he deserves to be in the Gold Glove conversation.

Stroman's night ended after 7.0 IP and 92 pitches, allowing just two runs on four hits with eight strikeouts and a walk.

Hendricks (9-4) combined on a two-hitter with Andrew Chafin (pitching on his 31st birthday), Ryan Tepera and Craig Kimbrel.

Kimbrel tied for the major league lead in saves with his 19thin 21 chances and matched Jeff Reardon for 10th place on the career list at 367.

Neither team got a hit after the fourth inning in the epitome of 2021 baseball, combining to go 0 for their final 34. The final 17 Mets made out in order, and the only one of the Cubs' last 17 to reach base got there on an error by shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Hendricks struck out seven and walked two, retiring his last eight batters after consecutive walks in the fourth.

He improved to 4-0 against the Mets, who had trouble adjusting to his relatively soft arsenal. The fastest of his 92 pitches was 89.3 mph; his 87.1 mph fastball average entering was 186th among 188 qualified pitchers, ahead of only Adam Cimber of Miami (86.9) and submarining Tyler Rogers of San Francisco (82.3), according to MLB Statcast.

New York lost for only the third time in its last 17 home games and is 20-7 at Citi Field. The Mets were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.

“Our timely hitting wasn't there,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said.

The Mets begin a four-game series with the Washington Nationals on Friday in Washington D.C. at 7:05 p.m.

Joey Lucchesi (1-4, 5.18) takes the mound for the Mets, and will go up against Erick Fedde (4-4,, 3.86) for the Nats.

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