CHICAGO (AP) — A visit from the New York Mets has helped the Chicago Cubs wake up their slumbering offense.
Anthony Rizzo homered and had three hits, Jason Heyward went deep and drove in four and the Cubs beat the Mets 14-6 on Thursday night.
This outburst helped Chicago overcome a shaky debut by pitcher Jen-Ho Tseng to complete a three-game sweep. The Cubs outscored the Mets 39-14 this week after being outscored 20-3 in a three-game sweep by the Milwaukee Brewers. The 39 runs are the most ever allowed by the Mets in a three-game series.
Kris Bryant added two RBIs as the Cubs extended their NL Central lead to three games over Milwaukee and St. Louis, with the Cardinals coming to Wrigley Field for three games this weekend.
“Even mentally, it makes a big difference,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “We did what we needed to do.”
Tseng thought his trip to Chicago this week was just to collect his second straight minor league pitcher of the year award from the organization. On Wednesday, Maddon told him he’d get the start.
The Taiwanese 22-year-old said he was nervous before the game, and a sloppy beginning made it worse.
Tseng threw behind leadoff hitter Jose Reyes, fell down while covering first base on the second batter for an error and later hit Dominic Smith with a pitch in the first inning.
“I threw a cutter behind the (first) batter,” Tseng said through a translator. “After that, I became more nervous.”
Tseng settled somewhat and went three innings, giving up five runs and five hits with six strikeouts. He was 13-4 with a 2.54 ERA in 24 starts for Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa.
“I like the kid a lot. You know about the never let them see you sweat moments, and we did,” Maddon said. “There’s something in there. Awkward first night for him but looking forward, I like him.”
Mike Montgomery (6-8) and Brian Duensing followed Tseng with two scoreless innings each.
Seth Lugo (6-5) was charged with eight runs, seven earned, with nine hits and a walk over three innings.
“We’ve pitched pretty good lately, we just did not pitch very well here,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “Came back obviously against a team that is fighting hard, coming off getting swept. We certainly got them ready for the Cardinals.”
The Mets took a 5-3 lead in the third inning on back-to-back home runs by Smith and Travis d’Arnaud.
Consecutive RBI doubles by Jon Jay, Bryant and Rizzo highlighted a five-run fourth inning as the Cubs rallied with nine straight runs.
One night after knocking in six off the bench, Albert Almora Jr. had a two-run, pinch-hit double in the sixth. Heyward added a three-run home run later in the inning to make it 14-5.
Tomas Nido had his first career hit and RBI for the Mets in the ninth.
Maddon donated $25,000 to Hurricane Irma relief efforts in Florida through his Respect 90 Foundation.
The former Tampa Bay Rays manager lives in Florida with his wife, Jaye. Maddon said he was approached to help by the Salvation Army.
Maddon has a restaurant, Ava, in Tampa, Florida, that delivered meals on Thursday and will again Friday to the Salvation Army.
“This is our small attempt to help out,” Maddon said.
Cubs catcher Taylor Davis, 27, also made his first career start. Maddon said he wanted a familiar look behind the plate for Tseng, who played with Davis in Triple-A Iowa.
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (lat) was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Thursday. He has not pitched in the major leagues since April 30. The Mets are not ruling out a return this season. “I think we owe it to ourselves as an organization to say we’ve got to get Noah out there,” manager Terry Collins said. “Peace of mind for us, peace of mind for him.” … INF T.J. Rivera (right elbow) underwent Tommy John surgery. … INF Amed Rosario left the game in the fifth inning with a tight hip flexor. It just feels like something that is a little annoying but doesn’t feel like anything really serious,” Rosario said after the game. . D’Arnaud left the game in the sixth inning with a twisted right knee. After the game, he said he expects to play Friday.
Cubs: RHP Jake Arrieta (right hamstring strain) threw off a mound Thursday. He could throw a bullpen session this weekend. … Maddon said the Cubs could have a timetable for the return of INF Addison Russell (right foot) on Friday. Russell has been working out in preparation for a return from the 10-day disabled list, which he has been on since Aug. 3.
Mets: RHP Rafael Montero (5-9, 5.05 ERA) will open a three-game series Friday in Atlanta against LHP Sean Newcomb (2-8, 4.38). Montero will look to extend his career-high winning streak to four games.
Cubs: RHP John Lackey (11-11, 4.65) will pitch the first of three at home Friday against RHP Carlos Martinez (11-10, 3.33) and St. Louis.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball