The Cubs’ streak of series victories came to an end Wednesday night at Citi Field. Chicago took an early lead but the Mets pulled ahead in the middle innings and a rally in the final frame came up just short.
Christopher Morel began things on a high note, hitting David Peterson‘s first pitch of the game for a solo home run. Seiya Suzuki, back in the lineup for the first time in a few days, smoked a triple into the left-center gap in the 2nd inning and would score on a passed ball by catcher Francisco Álvarez.
Kyle Hendricks kept the Mets off the scoreboard through the first four innings before Cub menace Pete Alonso struck again in the 5th. The slugging first baseman, who had already hit three dingers in the first two games, crushed a 434-foot two-run homer to tie the game at two.
Hayden Wesneski took over in the 6th and got absolutely rocked by the Mets lineup. Jeff McNeil greeted him with a solo home run to put the home team up 3-2, then Abraham Almonte hit a rocket double off the wall and was knocked in on a single from Jonathan Araúz.
José Cuas quickly replaced Wesneski and prevented further damage. The score remained 4-2 until the 9th, when Suzuki hit a solo home run off of Adam Ottavino to cut the deficit in half. The next two batters reached on a single and a walk and Ottavino was yanked for Phil Bickford.
Have a night, Seiya! pic.twitter.com/DH407HRaFG
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 10, 2023
A bunt moved the runners to second and third with one out, but a pair of strikeouts ultimately left the bases loaded and the Mets took the game. (Box score)
Nick Madrigal bunted the runners over with nobody out in the 9th and Morel took a called third strike. After Nico Hoerner drew a walk to load the bases, Bickford struck out Ian Happ and the game ended with the Cubs unable to put a ball in play with the tying run on third.
Why the Cubs Lost
While letting Alonso beat them again wasn’t great, the real culprit Wednesday night was the offense’s inability to do damage on the shaky Mets bullpen, particularly in the final frame.
Stats That Matter
- Hendricks was not super sharp but he certainly gave his team a chance to win if they had been more productive: 5 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 6 K, and 2 BB.
- Suzuki hit the ball very hard three times and had two extra-base hits. Maybe this is the beginning of a hot streak for the Cubs outfielder.
- Mike Tauchman did not start the game and still got on base twice via walks.
That was a frustrating end to a frustrating series in which only some late-inning heroics on Tuesday prevented what would’ve been a really disastrous sweep. The good news is they are still just 2.5 games out of first in the NL Central and only 0.5 back of the final Wild Card spot. The schedule also lightens up significantly after the Blue Jays series this weekend. Finally, and this is most important of all, none of their upcoming opponents have Alonso on their team.
The aforementioned series in Toronto begins Friday at 6:07pm CT as Javier Assad gets a second consecutive start against a yet-to-be-named Blue Jays hurler. The telecast is exclusively on Apple TV+ and the radio feed is available on 670 The Score.