PITTSBURGH (AP) – Javier Baez hit a grand slam and drove in a career-high six runs while major league ERA leader Kyle Hendricks pitched six scoreless innings as the Chicago Cubs won their 100th game of the season, routing the Pittsburgh Pirates 12-2 on Monday night.
Baez helped the National League Central-champion Cubs reach triple digits in victories for the first time since 1935. He hit his second career grand slam in the fourth inning to extend Chicago’s lead to 5-0 and his two-run single capped a six-run sixth that made it 11-0.
Hendricks (16-8) dropped his ERA to 1.99 by scattering seven hits, striking out five and walking none. He has not allowed more than three runs in 22 consecutive starts.
Kris Bryant hit a two-run home run, his 39th, in the sixth to draw within one of NL leader Nolan Arenado of Colorado.
The Pirates saw their hopes of a fourth consecutive postseason appearance dim even further with their third straight loss. They entered the day 4 ½ games out of the second NL wild card with seven games to play.
Rookie Chad Kuhl (5-4) was rocked for five runs and eight hits in three innings as his string of nine consecutive starts of giving up three runs or less ended.
Matt Joyce and pinch-hitter David Freese hit back-to-back home runs off Pedro Strop in the eighth inning to account for the Pirates’ scoring. Andrew McCutchen extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
THE MADDON SHUFFLE
Cubs manager Joe Maddon is trying to strike a balance between giving his regulars rest and keeping them sharp for the postseason now that his team has clinched home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs.
Maddon played what he called his “varsity infield” with the groundball-inducing Hendricks starting – 1B Anthony Rizzo, 2B Baez, 3B Bryant and SS Addison Russell. Meanwhile, RF Jason Heyward was the only starting outfielder in the lineup.
The Cubs will also use all relievers Thursday night in the series finale with rookie RHP Rob Zastryzny starting in place of LHP Mike Montgomery.
The Pirates acquired INF Chris Bostick from Washington in a trade for minor league C Taylor Gushue and cash considerations. Bostick was added to the 40-man roster but will not report to the major league club.
2B Josh Harrison was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to clear a roster spot for Bostick, who finished the season at Triple-A Syracuse and has yet to play in the major leagues.
A moment of silence was held for golfing legend Arnie Palmer, a native of Latrobe, Pa., and frequent visitor to PNC Park. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said a signed cap by Palmer from Latrobe Country Club is among his most-prized possessions.
Pirates: RF Gregory Polanco (facial contusion) missed his third straight game. . LF Starling Marte (back) was not in the lineup for the 19th time in 20 games.
Cubs: RHP John Lackey (10-8, 3.39 ERA) will start Tuesday night. He is 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA in four starts since missing three weeks because of a strained shoulder.
Pirates: RHP Ryan Vogelsong (3-6, 4.85) hasn’t made it past the fifth inning in his four September starts, going 0-2 with a 9.18 ERA.
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