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Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks carries no-hitter into eighth inning vs. Giants

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SAN FRANCISCO – Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks was four outs away from a no-hitter when the Giants’ Mitch Haniger got a hold of a fastball and hit a double off the left-field wall. 

“Should have dove headfirst into the wall to try to catch it,” left fielder Ian Happ said. “But he put it in the perfect spot.” 

In the Cubs’ 4-0 victory, Hendricks held the Giants to one hit through eight innings.

“Super impressive,” Happ said. “That’s who he is. Command and living on the edges, getting guys in between speeds. Everything was working really well.” 

The point of Hendricks’ offseason mechanical changes, as he worked back from a shoulder injury, was getting him back to the dominant pitcher he’d been with the Cubs earlier in his career. His ERA had ballooned in 2021 and 2022.

In his first three starts back from the injured list, Hendricks showed promising signs. The adjustments seemed to be paying off. On Saturday, he was masterful. 

“I’ve been feeling good in the last few starts, honestly,” Hendricks said. “Felt like I was catching my rhythm, making a lot of good pitches. And the rhythm today was just better.” 

For the first time Saturday, Hendricks called his own game using PitchCom. 

“There was just a next level of conviction in every pitch with him in control of things,” manager David Ross said.

Only one Giant reached base before the eighth inning. Michael Conforto drew a five-pitch walk in the second inning. 

There was only one close call before Haniger’s hit. In the third inning, the Giant’s Brandon Crawford hit a line drive into the right-center field gap. But Cubs center fielder Mike Tauchman came sprinting over and made a diving back-handed catch on the warning track. 

“Got away with some stuff in the beginning, honestly,” Hendricks said, “and then really kind of hit my stride of about the fourth or fifth.” 

Offense comes alive

The Cubs offense has been collectively struggling lately. But on Saturday, rookie Matt Mervis opened the scoring with a solo homer in the third inning. Mervis had been making hard contact, but the results haven’t been there, as he posted a .169 batting average entering Saturday. 

His go-ahead homer was the third of his major-league career. 

Christopher Morel matched him with a solo homer of his own the next inning, and the Cubs took a 2-0 lead. Then, in the fifth, he hit a two-run single to give the Cubs a couple insurance runs. 

Suzuki out of the lineup

Cubs right fielder Seiya Suzuki was out of the lineup Saturday. Ross said he was giving Suzuki a “breather” because he was “dealing with some small things.” Ross would not elaborate on what ailed Suzuki.

In Suzuki’s place, Morel played right field and hit No. 3 in the batting order. 

Injury updates

Center fielder Cody Bellinger (bruised left knee) went through a slew of baseball activities in Arizona, including taking live batting practice and sliding on the base paths. 

Also at the Cubs’ spring training complex, reliever Brad Boxberger (strained right forearm) threw a 26-pitch bullpen Saturday and felt good, according to the team.



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