Chicago Cubs: Quintana, three home runs, carry Cubs to win

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 12: Kris Bryant /

Jose Quintana continued to pitch well and the Chicago Cubs knocked off the New York Mets 8-3 Tuesday evening for a much-needed win.

It was no secret what the game plan was for the for the Chicago Cubs Tuesday night as they opened a three-game series with the New York Mets.

Pitch well, but most assuredly, score, score, and score some more runs.

The Cubs did that as they defeated the Mets 8-3, getting three home runs in the process, and earning a big win in the tight NL Central race.

Bend, then break

Chicago was able to get the leadoff man aboard every inning, minus the seventh inning.

The inability to bring runners in continued to plague the Cubs early, yet the patient, persistent approach by Cubs hitters proved fruitful, as it felt like it was just a matter of time before the offense would bust out.

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Ben Zobrist led off the Cubs’ first inning with a double and the club loaded the bases. However, they would not score.

Mets’ starter Robert Gsellman entered play with a first inning ERA of 9.00, a noteworthy statistic, as it appeared that he could be digging himself an early hole.

He threw 24 pitches in the first inning and walked two, yet got bailed out by a base-running lapse.

As Ian Happ grounded out, Willson Contreras was called out for running out of the base line on the way to second base for the inauspicious double play to end the first inning threat.

Big and small ball

New York scored the game’s first run in the fourth inning on a groundout by Travis Taijeron and Chicago answered quickly. During the bottom fourth, Quintana brought Kyle Schwarber in with a perfect sacrifice bunt and Kris Bryant delivered the big blow to put the Cubs up 4-1.

The three-run blast was Bryant’s 26th and the Cubs’ 200th home run of the season. Chicago hit 199 all of last year. Schwarber hit his 26th in the fifth inning. In the seventh Happ crushed his 22nd home run to give Chicago a five run lead.

Schwarber was 3-for-3.

Quintana had another sacrifice bunt in the sixth and Zobrist knocked in the Cubs’ sixth run. Contreras was 0-for-1 with three walks, as Rene Rivera replaced him behind the dish to start the eighth.

Jose Win-tana

Jose Quintana was particularly sharp early on. Over seven innings, he struck out seven, walked one, and allowed two runs on six hits. Asdrubal Cabrera touched Quintana up for three hits.

Quintana picks up his 10th win and earned his fourth quality start over his last five outings.

Carl Edwards Jr. pitched a clean eighth in relief. Justin Wilson struggled to put away hitters in the ninth, leaving it for Pedro Strop to secure the final outs.

For the Mets, Gsellman lasted four innings, allowing four runs on five hits. He walked five and struck out four.

Chicago remains two games ahead of St. Louis, and 2 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee as both won their games Tuesday.

Next: Chicago Cubs release tentative 2018 schedule; team opens in Miami

What’s next

Wednesday the Chicago Cubs face off with the New York Mets as Matt Harvey (5-4, 5.82 ERA) opposes Jon Lester (10-7, 4.35 ERA).

First pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm C.T.