The Chicago Cubs lost a heartbreaker in a 2-1 game, where the Cubs loaded the bases with no outs in the last of the ninth inning but could not push across a run, and fell to the New York Mets when Kris Bryant hit into a game-ending double-play.
Actually, this game felt like two or three different games, the headlining starting pitching matched Noah Syndergaard of the Mets vs. Jake Arrieta of Chicago. Syndergaard, coming off a “tired” arm in his last start and Arrieta hoping to regain his winning touch that he had earlier in the season.
Arrieta (12-4, 2.60 ERA) had a very good outing. He went seven innings, allowing one run while striking out eight batters and walking only one. His command of his pitches has improved.
He did not figure in the decision. That was left up to Cubs (56-37) reliever Hector Rondon who pitched poorly in the ninth. Rene Rivera, the light-hitting catcher for the Mets (50-43) had three hits and the biggest one was his drive to right field which scored Neal Walker to make it 2-1 New York in the top of the ninth inning.
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Rivera more than atoned for his throwing error on a wild pitch in the third inning that allowed Willson Contreras to score. Contreras hit a two-out double. Syndergaard (9-4, 2.43 ERA) threw a wild pitch and Rivera recovered but made an off-balance throw that missed third baseman Jose Reyes.
Thus Contreras scampered home with the leading run 1-0. In the Mets sixth inning, Reyes tripled to right field, Curtis Granderson drove him in with a sacrifice fly to center field.
It was a taut 1-1 game and the crowd sort of buzzed and groaned with each Cubs at-bat. Rondon came in the ninth and promptly gave up the winning hit. The Mets strung some hits together. The key one being Rivera’s drive to right which scored the go-ahead run.
Then Jeurys Familia, the Mets closer did his impression of the magician Houdini, by walking the first two batters on eight pitches. The third batter, Javier Baez reached first on a bunt single down the third base line that third basemen Reyes should have allowed to go foul.
He barehanded the ball, threw to first and Baez was safe with the bases loaded and no outs. Surely, the Cubs would tie or maybe win the game.
That was not to be. Familia induced a ground-out to force the runner at home. James Loney playing first base, made a strong throw to Rivera. Kris Bryant then comes to bat with one out. A fly ball ties the game. But Bryant hit into a game-ending double-play and the rally was squelched.
The Cubs have been playing well of late. They looked fresh, and their pitching has been good lately. They’ve been getting timely hits. But not tonight.