Kyle Hendricks felt so out-of-whack that he found himself simulating his pitching motion between pitches early on.
Despite a laundry list of things that felt wrong, Hendricks and the Chicago Cubs continued to do most everything right.
Hendricks turned in his fourth straight quality start and the Cubs ran their winning streak to four with a 6-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night.
Hendricks (6-4) allowed one earned run on five hits while striking out five and walking three in 6 2/3 innings as the reigning World Series champs maintained their 3 1/2-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central.
”From the start today it was one of those days,” Hendricks said. ”Uncomfortable. Felt weird. Command was terrible. My timing was off. I wasn’t staying over the rubber well. Today really the guys just made the plays behind me and scored enough runs.”
Jon Jay had four hits and Kris Bryant homered to lead the Cubs offense.
Bryant’s two-run blast through a stiff wind in the sixth inning made him the first Cubs player to begin his career with three straight 25-homer seasons.
”Pretty crazy when you think of the history of this organization, to be the first to do that,” Bryant said. ”It is really cool, an honor. It feels good.”
”That ball was really killed because that wind was stiff,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. ”That ball was really well struck.”
Hendricks was backed by Brian Duensing, Carl Edwards and Justin Wilson, who combined on 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 1, 2017
Rookie left-hander Sean Newcomb (2-8) took the loss, allowing two runs on eight hits while striking out seven and walking three in five innings.
Pinch-hitter Lane Adams hit his second career home run to chase Hendricks with two outs in the seventh. The Braves other run off Hendricks in the fifth was unearned.
With his RBI ground out in the first inning, Anthony Rizzo became the first Cubs player to drive in 30 runs in a calendar month since Sammy Sosa did so in August of 2001.
The Cubs acquired OF Leonys Martin from the Seattle Mariners for either a player to be named later or cash.
The team did not announce where Martin will be assigned, but he will be eligible for the postseason roster if the Cubs qualify. The Mariners had optioned Martin to Triple-A Tacoma last week.
The Cubs received Major League Baseball’s approval to move their Sept. 8 game against the Milwaukee Brewers from 1:20 p.m. to 7:05 p.m.
The city of Chicago also had to sign off on the time change because Friday night games have been prohibited since lights were installed at Wrigley Field in 1988. The Cubs play a night game in Pittsburgh on Sept. 7.
With LHP Jon Lester (left lat tightness and shoulder fatigue) set to return from the disabled list against the Braves on Saturday, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he will go with six starters for one turn through the rotation.
LHP Mike Montgomery, who allowed one run on 10 hits in 13 innings while winning both his starts in Lester’s stead, will get at least one more on Sunday. Maddon said no decision has been made past then.
SEPT. 1 CALL-UPS
LHP Rex Brothers, LHP Ian Krol and RHP Luke Jackson will rejoin the Braves when rosters expand on Friday. All three are on the 10-day disabled list. The Cubs did not announce their Sept. 1 additions.
Braves: INF Johan Camargo (bruised right knee), INF Adonis Garcia (torn left ring finger ligament) and OF Danny Santana (strained left quad) will spend the weekend on rehab assignments at Triple-A Gwinnett . A CT scan on C Tyler Flowers (sore left wrist) revealed no structural damage.
Cubs: SS Addison Russell (plantar fasciitis) will be out for three more weeks after an MRI revealed the injury has been re-aggravated.
Jon Lackey (10-10, 4.98 ERA) will oppose fellow RHP Mike Foltynewicz (10-10, 4.84) in the second game of the four-game series on Friday. The Cubs had won Lackey’s previous eight starts before he was tagged for five runs in the fifth inning of their 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on August 27. Foltynewicz has allowed 19 earned runs in his last 13 innings on the road.
All the results from Thursday’s MLB games:
Cincinnati Reds 7-2 New York Mets
Minnesota Twins 5-4 Chicago White Sox
Houston Astros 5-1 Texas Rangers
Arizona Diamondbacks 8-1 Los Angeles Dodgers
Baltimore Orioles 8-11 Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees 6-2 Boston Red Sox
Miami Marlins 2-3 Philadelphia Phillies
Chicago Cubs 6-2 Atlanta Braves
Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 Washington Nationals
San Francisco Giants 2 – 5 St Louis Cardinals