By Bruce Levine-
CHICAGO (CBS) — It all begins with starting pitching for the surging Cubs, who have won four in a row and are now a season-high 13 games over .500.
Right-hander Kyle Hendricks continued that trend in a 6-2 win against the Braves on Thursday evening at Wrigley Field, going 6 2/3 innings and allowing two runs, one earned. He scattered five hits, walked three and struck out five.
“He was off with his delivery a little bit,” manager Joe Maddon said. “You could see from the side he was just off a bit. You could see him mime his delivery just to get the feel back. He got through it. He hung a pitch to the pinch-hitter but otherwise, he was really good again.”
Although uncharacteristically wild early, Hendricks worked out of a few jams. Building back up to full strength has been the task for Hendricks recently after missing most of June and July with a hand injury. He’s making great strides, going seven innings in his past start before the 6 2/3-inning effort Thursday, and his form had been solid. Hendricks has a 2.31 ERA in eight starts since the All-Star break.
The Cubs have won seven straight games at Wrigley Field and are 10-3 in their past 13 games. They hold a 3.5-game lead in the NL Central.
Hendricks was happy to work deep into the game after early control issues.
“It was just one of those days from the start”,” Hendricks said. “It started in the bullpen. I was not staying over the rubber very well. Today the guys just played a great game behind me and scored enough runs. You are going to go out there a few times a year and not have it. Today was that day. By the fourth inning, I was making better pitches. I just made enough good pitches when I had to.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.