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Kyle Hendricks flirts with no-no as Cubs close in on clinching NL Central

Tuesday's Say Hey, Baseball includes a historic dinger from David Ortiz, a blow to Cleveland’s rotation, and Max Scherzer as a library.

Chicago Cubs v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

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Considering how he started the year, Kyle Hendricks’ season has been something remarkable so far. Six months ago, as he was fighting for the Cubs’ fifth starter spot, no one would have guessed that he’d end up holding the best ERA in baseball in the season’s final weeks. But hold it he does, and Monday, he tried to add something else remarkable to that package: a no-hitter against the Cardinals.

A chance at perfection disappeared early in the evening, with a walk in the second inning. That aside, however, the ultra-precise righty was dealing. With run support early plus some stand-out defense from Addison Russell and Jason Heyward, Hendricks was able to carry the no-no into the ninth. With three outs to go, though, it was not to be — an 0-2 changeup to Jeremy Hazelbaker turned into a home run, and there went the no-hitter, the shutout, and the chance at a complete game, as Hendricks was pulled in favor of Aroldis Chapman to close it out for the 4-1 Cubs win.

In addition to providing the excitement of a near no-hitter, the win also set the magic number for the Cubs to clinch the NL Central at three. The Cardinals remain in the thick of things, just half a game back of the second wild card spot. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the division, the Pirates continue to slip away, as they dropped one to the Phillies to push their losing skid to four and keep their playoff picture bleak.

  • Boston lit up Wade Miley to defeat Baltimore 12-2 (including another home run from David Ortiz, tying him with Mickey Mantle on the all-time list). The Sox keep their lead in the AL East at two games, while the Orioles stay in possession of the second wild card — for now.

  • Brian Dozier hit his 40th home run, the first player to do so in a Twins uniform since Harmon Killebrew in 1970.

  • The Indians’ rotation has been dealt a blow with Danny Salazar likely out for the rest of the regular season.

  • Adam Jones spoke out this week about MLB players and taking a stance on social issues: "Baseball is a white man’s sport." Ken Rosenthal offers a nuanced perspective on Jones’ comments here.

  • At Dusty Baker’s request, Max Scherzer is "like a free library in knowledge and in wisdom" for Lucas Giolito.

  • The White Sox scored in every inning of their Monday win over Cleveland.

  • Hunter Dozier made his debut for Kansas City last night, more than a week after being called up. Royals Review has an analysis of how he’s been handled and what it says about the team.

  • The A.J. Pierzynski experience is (probably) over, and so Talking Chop has a retrospective of his time in Atlanta.

  • Why haven’t the Orioles been able to hit lefties this year? Camden Chat investigates.