CINCINNATI – Kyle Hendricks had as many hits as he allowed in his latest gem.
Hendricks had a career-high three hits, including a two-run double, and worked into the ninth inning Tuesday night, leading the surging Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
The Cubs are 10-2 in May, their best start to the month since 1977. They have won 22 of 28 games for the NL’s best record at 25-14. In this one, Hendricks (3-4) did it all.
He’s found his stride in May, winning all three starts while allowing only one earned run in 25 innings. He gave up a pair of singles and Joey Votto’s homer in the fourth inning, Cincinnati’s only hits.
Shockingly, Hendricks also had a two-run double and a pair of singles.
“When I took him out, I said, ‘Way to swing the bat,’ ” manager Joe Maddon said.
A .090 career hitter heading into the season, Hendricks spent time on his swing hoping to avoid being removed for a pinch hitter late in games. Still, he never expected anything like Tuesday night.
His RBI double put the Cubs in line for yet another win over Cincinnati. The liner over Nick Senzel’s head in center field – only Hendricks’ second hit of the season – made it 2-0 in the second inning. He added two more singles and lined out.
“It’s something I really need to get better at,” Hendricks said. “Honestly, I don’t know what happened today.”
The double came on a hanging slider by Tanner Roark (3-2), who lamented allowing the opposing pitcher to get a two-out hit that decided the game.
“You don’t want to let those guys beat you,” Roark said. “Tonight, I let it happen to me.”
Hendricks left after walking Senzel to open the ninth on his 97th pitch. Steve Cishek got the last two outs for his third save in four chances.
Hendricks started his May surge with an 81-pitch, 4-0 complete-game win over St. Louis and followed it by allowing one unearned run in eight innings of a win over Miami. In an era where starters throw in the upper 90s and often last only five innings, Hendricks is getting outs with his assortment of pitches and a fastball that was in the upper 80s in the later innings.
“He’s definitely broken the mold,” Maddon said. “He’s definitely a throwback. You see weak swings and weak contact all night long.”
The Cubs are 52-25 against the Reds over the past five seasons, the best mark by any team against a division foe.
Willson Contreras had a sacrifice fly for the Cubs’ other run. Kris Bryant had three hits and extended his career-best streak to 23 consecutive games reaching base safely.
Javy Baez singled twice and extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games, the longest by a Cub this season.
The Reds came into the game with the NL’s worst team batting average at .216. They were no-hit in Oakland by Mike Fiers a week earlier.
Cubs: Anthony Rizzo was out of the lineup for the second straight game with a stiff back that was improving but could sideline him for another game.
Reds: Jesse Winker was back in left field after missing two games last week with a sore left thigh. He went 0 for 4.
STILL GETTING ON
Bryant’s streak of reaching safely in 23 straight games is the longest active streak in the majors and the longest by a Cub since Ben Zobrist reached safely 25 consecutive games in 2017.
Hendricks applauded after center fielder Albert Almora Jr. went to the wall to grab Derek Dietrich’s fly in the fifth. Second baseman Daniel Descalso made a diving stop on Tucker Barnhart’s up-the-middle grounder and threw out the catcher to end the inning.
The Reds used a shift against Descalso in the second inning, and he bunted to the vacated left side of the infield for a single and scored on Hendricks’ double. The next time up, the Reds left third baseman Eugenio Suarez in place.
Cubs: Yu Darvish (2-3) walked six batters in four innings of a 4-1 win over Miami in his last start. He’s 2-0 in three career starts against the Reds with a 1.93 ERA.
Reds: Sonny Gray (0-4) makes his ninth try to get his first win with the Reds, who got him in a trade with the Yankees. The Reds are 2-6 in his starts.