NEW YORK – On days Kyle Hendricks is on the mound, he can count on Javier Baez, his buddy from the minor leagues, for plenty of run support.
It’s a combo beleaguered Cubs’ fans can get excited about.
Hendricks and two relievers held New York to four or fewer hits for the fifth straight game, Baez and Anthony Rizzo homered, and the Cubs rallied for a 4-1 victory over the Mets on Monday.
“When he’s pitching and he got a good game, I got a good game, too,” Baez said.
Teammates at Triple-A Iowa for much of the season, Baez hit two homers in his third career game Aug. 7 to help make Hendricks a winner in his fifth career start. This time, Baez’s mammoth two-run shot into the second deck in left field off Mets closer Jenrry Mejia put the Cubs up 4-1.
“That’s typical right there,” Hendricks said of the homer. “Not really shocking for us.”
Hendricks (5-1) gave up three hits in seven innings, allowing only Lucas Duda’s home run in the fourth. The right-hander won his fourth straight start – yielding four earned runs over 291/3 innings.
“I wasn’t that sharp but then made that mistake to Duda and it kind of locked me in after that,” Hendricks said.
Neil Ramirez struck out two in a perfect eighth and Hector Rondon allowed a leadoff double but finished the four-hitter for his 18th save.
The Cubs came back once Carlos Torres, making a spot start for Bartolo Colon, was done after five innings.
Luis Valbuena, who had three hits, had a tying single in the sixth. Rizzo connected off Buddy Carlyle (1-1) in the eighth for his 28th homer.
The Mets had only 16 hits but split the four-game series with the Cubs. The five-game run matches the club’s longest streak of games with no more than four hits. They also went five straight in 2004 and 1963.
The only time since 1914 the Cubs gave up four or fewer hits in four straight games was in 1983.
“Maybe they’re swinging too much,” manager Terry Collins said. “It’s trying not to do too much, just try to put the barrel on the baseball.”
The 41-year-old Colon had to return to the Dominican Republic, where his mother was sick, forcing the durable Torres to make his first start since Sept. 27. He yielded three hits.
Colon’s winter ball team, the Cibao Eagles, confirmed later Monday Colon’s mother died.
The Mets will place Colon on the bereavement list and recall right-hander Gonzalez Germen from Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday.
Torres became the first pitcher to start on no days’ rest since the Angels’ Billy Buckner did it June 25, 26 of last year. Torres threw nine pitches in facing two batters in the Mets’ 2-1 loss Sunday.
Cubs: OF Chris Coghlan was out of the starting lineup. “We’ve been pushing him pretty hard,” manager Rick Renteria said. Coghlan has been playing with a sore left big toe. As a pinch hitter, he grounded out with the bases loaded in the eight.
Mets: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka could be activated from the DL to replace Colon. Matsuzaka (elbow inflammation) made a rehab start Saturday, allowing one run and three hits over six innings for Double-A Binghamton.
Cubs: LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (2-1) will make his seventh big league start when Cubs host the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday.
Mets: RHP Dillon Gee (4-5) is set for his first start at the Oakland Coliseum. He gave up four runs in four innings vs. the A’s at Citi Field on June 21, 2011.
Renteria challenged two plays, winning one and losing one. The total time for the two reviews was 1 minute, 23 seconds. Umpires needed 55 seconds to overturn a safe call on Matt den Dekker’s attempted steal in the fourth. It only took 28 seconds to uphold an out call at first base in the fifth.
The Cubs improved to 9-8 this month. Last year they were 8-20 in August.
Torres is first pitcher to strike out six on zero rest since the Cubs’ Steve Wilson struck out 10 on Sept. 10, 1989. He also is the first to throw at least five shutout innings on no rest since Philadelphia’s Bruce Ruffin went eight scoreless on June 21, 1991.
AP freelancer Dionisio Soldevila in the Dominican Republic contributed to this report.