Schierholtz, Cubs beat Mets 2-1 in 9th inning
CHICAGO — Nate Schierholtz was one of the few dependable hitters in Cubs lineup a season ago. Now, he is starting to show signs he can shake out of an early season rut.
Schierholtz hit a two-out game-ending RBI single, after Chris Coghlan homered to tie it in the eighth, and the Chicago Cubs beat the New York Mets 2-1 on Tuesday night.
It was the first game-ending hit for the Cubs this season.
Curtis Granderson had three hits for the Mets and drove in their run with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. The Mets failed to win a season-high four straight games.
Cubs reliever Hector Rondon (1-1) pitched a scoreless ninth.
Anthony Rizzo led off the bottom of the ninth with a single off Mets reliever Scott Rice (1-2). After New York third baseman David Wright was unable to turn a hard-hit grounder into a double play, Schierholtz pulled a liner into the right-field corner against the left-handed Rice to win it.
“I know I’m a better player than I showed the first few months. That wasn’t me. I knew it was going to come around. It took longer than I hoped, obviously I still have a lot to do in the next four months, but I’m confident and that’s all that matters,” said Schierholtz, who was 3 for 4 to move his average up to .224 from .212.
Schierholtz hit .251 with home 21 homers last season for the Cubs.
The Mets squandered an opportunity in the third when they had bases loaded and failed to score.
“We gave this away,” Wright said. “Obviously, not being able to get that lead runner in the ninth and then we had numerous chances to put that team away. We couldn’t do it. Any time you put that many runners in scoring position and you only come away with one, that kind of gets the momentum back on their side and they were able to take advantage of it late.”
Mets starter Zack Wheeler pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings and was in line for the victory until Josh Edgin gave up a leadoff home run to Coghlan to tie the game and snap a 15 inning scoreless streak for Chicago. It was the left-hand hitting Coghlan’s first homer against a lefty pitcher since 2010.
After only giving up one run in 6 1/3 innings to the Phillies on Thursday, Wheeler gave the Mets another strong outing. He had little trouble going against an overmatched Chicago offense. He allowed two hits, while striking out seven and only allowing two walks. The 24-year old right-hander did not allow a runner past first base.
“I thought he did a real good job. I thought his location was outstanding. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he moved the ball around and I was very impressed with the way he pitched,” said Mets manager Terry Collins.
The struggles continued for Rizzo against Wheeler, who was ejected after striking out in his first at-bat on Sunday. He struck out three times against Wheeler and dropped a routine pop up in the eighth.
Matt den Dekker led off the game with a single. He stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch then scored on Granderson’s sacrifice fly.
The Mets had the bases loaded in the third with no outs, but failed to score. Chris Young hit a sharp grounder to Rizzo. Rizzo threw home to get the force. Lucas Duda popped out to Starlin Castro at shortstop and Wilmer Flores lined out to starter Jake Arrieta.
“In some big situations I was able to make a lot of big pitches, too, keep it to one run and obviously things kind of led to what happened in the ninth, which is pretty awesome,” said Arrieta.
Arrieta allowed one run on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out two and walked three.
Arrieta’s night ended early with a high pitch count. Cubs manager Rick Renteria was forced to pull the 28-year old right-hander after he walked Duda with two outs in the fifth on his 105th pitch.
*Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Phelps/Getty Images