ST. LOUIS (AP) — Kyle Hendricks took a no-hitter into the ninth inning before giving up Jeremy Hazelbaker’s leadoff homer, and the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-1 Monday night to close in on the NL Central crown.
Hazelbaker drove an 0-2 pitch into the right-field stands for his 12th home run. Hendricks (15-7), the major league ERA leader at 2.03, was relieved by Aroldis Chapman.
“Just left that one up right there. What are you going to do?” Hendricks said.
The Cardinals remained a half-game behind the Mets for the league’s second wild card. New York lost 8-1 at Washington.
Soon after Hazelbaker’s shot cleared the fence, teammates went to the mound to talk to Hendricks — leading to an argument between Cubs manager Joe Maddon and plate umpire Joe West.
Maddon was ejected for the third time this season, and Chapman entered to finish the one-hitter. He got three outs for his 14th save with Chicago, and is 34 for 37 overall this year with the Cubs and Yankees.
After the pitching change, Maddon argued some more with West before leaving.
Hendricks, who threw 96 pitches, struck out seven and walked two.
“Pretty special night all around,” he said. “It was fun, man.”
The right-hander got some help from his defense, especially in the sixth.
Cubs shortstop Addison Russell, deep in the hole, went to his knees on the outfield grass for a sliding stop of Jhonny Peralta’s sharp grounder and made a strong throw to first.
Right fielder Jason Heyward then reached into the stands to catch Hazelbaker’s foul fly, practically wrestling with a fan in a Cardinals jersey for the ball.
“I made a lot of good pitches,” Hendricks said. “I probably made four or five bad pitches, just kind of one of those nights where you get away with them.”
It was the fourth no-hit bid broken up in the ninth inning this season. Cubs teammate Jake Arrieta tossed the lone no-hitter in the majors this year, winning 16-0 at Cincinnati on April 21.
Mike Leake (9-10) pitched six innings before being lifted for a pinch hitter. Leake, making his second start since a stint on the disabled list due to shingles, allowed six hits and four runs (three earned).
The Cubs took a 1-0 lead on a leadoff homer by Zobrist, his 15th, in the second. Chicago added a run in the third on an RBI single by Anthony Rizzo.
Chicago made it 4-0 in fifth. Javier Baez reached on a throwing error by shortstop Jedd Gyorko and scored when Fowler hit a one-out homer to right field.
The last time the Cubs won a division title was 2008. They did it by beating St. Louis on Sept. 20 at Wrigley Field.
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