Cubs 7, Indians 2: Hendricks, Rizzo power sweep

Tom Withers
The Associated Press
Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo, right, scores as Cleveland Indians catcher Sandy Leon can't hold onto the ball in the fifth inning in a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND — Kyle Hendricks pitched six strong innings in his first appearance against the Indians since Game 7 of the 2016 World Series and Anthony Rizzo homered, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 7-2 win over the Indians on Wednesday night to match their best start in 50 years.

Hendricks (3-1) didn't have much trouble with the slumping Indians, who came in batting a major league-worst .192. He allowed one run and seven hits and handled everyone in the Indians’ lineup except Franmil Reyes, who got three hits.

The Cubs are 12-3 in their first season under manager David Ross, matching the club's start after 15 games in 1970.

Rizzo homered in the third off Carlos Carrasco (2-2), David Bote drove in two runs and Kris Bryant connected for a 430-foot shot as the Cubs swept the two-game interleague series.

Hendricks hadn't faced the Indians since Nov. 2, 2016, when he started the dramatic finale as the Cubs beat the Indians in extra innings to clinch their first Series title since 1908. The right-hander is as efficient now as he was four years ago. He threw 65 of his 90 pitches for strikes without a walk.

Carrasco was pulled in the fifth after a shaky, seven-walk outing in 4 1/3 innings. The right-hander struggled with his control from the outset, but he was able to work around two, two-walk innings without giving up any runs.

He did allow two singles to start the fifth before striking out Willson Contreras, who smashed his bat in the dirt near home plate and was immediately ejected. Reliever Oliver Perez came in and gave up a sacrifice fly to Jason Heyward before Bote's two-out single made it 4-0.

Short stories

Francisco Lindor and Javier Báez followed eerily similar paths to stardom. Both were born in Puerto Rico, moved to Florida and were drafted one pick apart in 2011.

They're close friends and two of the game's best middle infielders. Just ask Jason Kipnis, who played with Lindor in Cleveland and is teammates with Báez.

“They’re both better at baseball than me,” he said. “I don’t know what’s in the water over there, but these guys’ natural ability to play this game is astonishing. "

Trainer’s room

Cubs: Outfielder Kyle Schwarber was scratched from the starting lineup with a bruised right knee suffered when he got hit with a pitch Tuesday. He struck out pinch-hitting in the ninth. ... Ross said feedback was positive on left-hander José Quintana's simulated game. He cut his pitching hand while washing dishes at home last month. There is still no timetable for his return.

Indians: Catcher Roberto Perez (shoulder) has been running and throwing at the team's alternate site in Lake County. Francona said Perez has not suffered any setbacks and the club could have him back soon.

Up next

Indians: Following their second off day in four days, the Indians open a three-game series in Detroit on Friday. Aaron Civale (1-2) will start the opener for the Indians against Iván Nova (1-0).

Chicago Cubs' David Bote (13) is tagged out by Cleveland Indians' Cesar Hernandez (7) in the fifth inning in a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, in Cleveland.