Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks Flirts With No-Hitter In Win Over Cardinals

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Kyle Hendricks took a no-hitter into the ninth inning before giving up Jeremy Hazelbaker’s leadoff home run, and the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-1, on Monday night to close in on the NL Central crown.

Hazelbaker drove an 0-2 pitch into the right-field stands for his 12th homer. Hendricks (15-7), the major league ERA leader at 2.03, was relieved by Aroldis Chapman.

“Just left that one up right there. What are you going to do?” Hendricks said.

Ben Zobrist and Dexter Fowler homered for the Cubs, who lowered their magic number to three for clinching the division title. They lead the second-place Cardinals by 17 games and can wrap up the NL Central with a three-game sweep in St. Louis.

Soon after Hazelbaker’s shot cleared the fence, teammates went to the mound to talk to Hendricks — leading to an argument between Cubs manager Joe Maddon and plate umpire Joe West.

Maddon was ejected for the third time this season, and Chapman entered to finish the one-hitter. He got three outs for his 14th save with Chicago, and is 34 for 37 overall this year with the Cubs and Yankees.

Hendricks, who threw 96 pitches, struck out seven and walked two.

After the pitching change, Maddon argued some more with West before leaving.

St. Louis remained a half-game behind the Mets for the second NL wild card. New York lost 8-1 at Washington.

The last time the Cubs won a division title was 2008. They did it by beating St. Louis on Sept. 20 at Wrigley Field.

Mike Leake (9-10) pitched six innings before being lifted for a pinch hitter. Leake, making his second start since a stint on the disabled list due to shingles, allowed six hits and four runs (three earned).

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead on a leadoff homer by Zobrist, his 15th, in the second. Chicago added a run in the third on an RBI single by Anthony Rizzo.

Chicago made it 4-0 in fifth. Javier Baez reached on a throwing error by shortstop Jedd Gyorko and scored when Fowler hit a one-out homer to right field.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha (right shoulder) threw batting practice to Brayan Pena, Jose Martinez and Alberto Rosario. Wacha said he hopes to come off the disabled list Wednesday. … LF Matt Holliday took batting practice on the field for the first time since breaking his right thumb Aug. 11 against the Cubs. … Cardinals closer Seung Hwan Oh, who has 17 saves and a 1.87 ERA, was unavailable Saturday and Sunday against Milwaukee because of a sore groin. Speaking through translator Eugene Koo, the reliever said he would not be available Monday but should be Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: LHP Jaime Garcia (10-12, 4.58 ERA) makes his 29th start of the season Tuesday night, his most since 2011 when he made 32. He has started seven games against the Cubs and is 3-2 with a 2.27 ERA.

Cubs: RHP Jason Hammel (14-8, 3.50) allowed nine runs — eight earned — and a career-high 13 hits over 5 2/3 innings in a 12-5 loss at Milwaukee last time out. He is 4-4 with a 4.80 ERA in 10 starts against the Cardinals.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.

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