Kyle Hendricks started the second half by pitching six scoreless innings in Friday's win over Texas and continued the shutout streak with seven more on Wednesday against the Mets. In three starts (plus two relief innings) so far in July, Hendricks has allowed just one run for the Chicago Cubs, and it was unearned thanks to an error. Since the National League made earned runs an official stat in 1912, no Cubs pitcher has made four (or more) starts in a calendar month and given up a total of zero earned runs.
For the Rangers, that blanking was only the second time they'd been shut out on the road this season, and the other time came just a few miles away on 35th Street. They're the first non-Chicago team in baseball history to be shut out by five runs or more on both sides of Chicago in the same season (including the World Series).
On Friday, Hendricks was replaced by pinch hitter Matt Szczur, who drove in the Cubs' final two runs with a single. Szczur then drove in the last run of Saturday's game with another pinch-hit single. He's the first Cub to have a pinch hit and an RBI in consecutive games since Dioner Navarro homered (one of them a walk-off) on both April 12 and 13, 2013.
After eight straight regular-season home wins against the Mets going back three years, the Cubs lost Tuesday's game 2-1 to come up one shy of matching the longest such streak in team history. Chicago won the last matchup at the Friendly Confines in 1983 and the first eight in 1984 before falling in the final meeting of that season, a 9-3 game where Darryl Strawberry homered and drove in five.
That lone run Tuesday came when Noah Syndergaard tossed a wild pitch and Rene Rivera threw the ball away trying to prevent the advance. It was the first time in a quarter-century that the Cubs scored their only run of a game on a play begun by a wild pitch. On May 29, 1991, also against the Mets at Wrigley Field, Ryne Sandberg scampered home from third on a bouncer from David Cone.
That's not to say the Cubs didn't have a chance on Tuesday. They led off the ninth inning with two walks and Javier Baez then beat out a bunt attempt. However, when Kris Bryant bounced into a game-ending double play, it marked the first time the Cubs were trailing, loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth and failed to score in over eight years. On June 24, 2008, George Sherrill recovered to strike out the side and preserve a 7-5 Orioles victory.
Anthony Rizzo also struck out four times Tuesday, but bookended that by homering once on Monday and twice on Wednesday. Monday's homer came on the 10th pitch, the Cubs' longest at-bat ending in a homer since Ryan Sweeney in 2013. Wednesday's outburst made Rizzo the first Cub in the live-ball era to follow a four-strikeout game with a two-homer game the next day (though Kyle Schwarber did it two days apart last September), and he's the first player to homer off Bartolo Colon three times in a season (also July 2) since Ben Zobrist in 2011.