Javier Baez has not had a seamless transition to the Major League's. The 21-year-old rookie had yet to work a walk until Sunday when he finally reached base on balls in his 13th game.
He had struck out 21 times before that happened. But the second baseman has shown that his power translates to the big leagues. Baez smacked his sixth home run in 14 games Monday afternoon with an upper deck shot to help the Cubs beat the Mets.
Out of a funk
Baez's majestic home run came after he went hitless in four at-bats previously. His day up to that point had also included his 23rd and 24th strikeouts of the season. But Baez does not let a couple strikeouts change his approach. And he finally connected squarely with that same violent swing that misses the ball awfully often. The ball soared into the second deck in left center at the Mets' Citi Field and put two runs on the board against Jenrry Menjia.
Baez's ninth inning home run gave him six on the season and also gave the Cubs a 4-1 lead. Chicago had been down by a run until the sixth inning when Luis Valbuena singled in the tying run. Anthony Rizzo put Chicago on top with a solo home run just an inning earlier. All of the runs came against New York's bullpen.
Carlos Torres got the surprise start for the Mets after they had to scratch their listed starting pitcher Bartolo Colon. Colon traveled to the Dominican Republic before the game to be with his mother, who is ill.
Torres was great in the spot start. He allowed just three hits over five innings in his only start of the season. The outing improved his ERA to 3.43 and his WHIP to 1.37. He also left the game in line for the win, but could only get through five innings with a presumed low pitch count. Torres had thrown 86 pitches when Terry Collins summoned the bullpen.
No bullpen back-up
Dana Eveland suffered the blown save in the sixth when he gave up the Valbuena RBI single. And Buddy Carlyle got hit with the loss when Rizzo took him out to deep right field.
Meanwhile, Kyle Hendricks recorded his sixth straight quality start, and sixth in his seven starts, to earn the win. The rookie right-hander is now 5-1 with a 1.66 ERA and a sub-1.00 WHIP.
Two straight wins for the Cubs earned them a split of the four-game series before heading back home to take on the Giants tomorrow.