Murphy homers in 8th, leads Mets over Cubs 4-3
CHICAGO (AP) — The New York Mets wanted more pop up top, and hoped Daniel Murphy could provide it.
He delivered, hitting a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning that sent the Mets over the Chicago Cubs 4-3 on Sunday for their first series win at Wrigley Field since 2007.
The Mets won two of three on this trip to Chicago.
Murphy batted leadoff for the first time this season and fifth time in his career. He’d mostly been in the second slot this season.
“It’s still always about quality at-bats,” Murphy said.
Murphy hit a leadoff shot against reliever Kyuji Fujikawa (1-1). Murphy has homered twice in three games and has an eight-game hitting streak, during which he’s batted .469 (15 for 32) with seven extra-base hits.
Manager Terry Collins indicated Murphy might remain in the leadoff spot.
“I feel like I’m taking better swings,” Murphy said. “I feel better with my swing. I’m also getting better pitches to hit. When your swing is going good, you feel comfortable at the plate. You just don’t miss them. That’s kind of where I’m at.”
Mets rookie Juan Lagares hit his first major league homer, a tying, two-run drive in the seventh against starter Travis Wood.
“I wish I could have that pitch back,” Wood said. “I went with a changeup, was trying to get it down and happened to leave it up. He put a good swing on it and hit it out.”
Lagares planned to keep the baseball, which a fan threw back onto the field.
“When I came here I just tried to keep doing the same thing I was doing in Triple-A,” Lagares said. “The key is to keep working hard.”
Scott Rice (2-3) pitched two scoreless innings. Bobby Parnell earned his sixth save.
Wood hit his first homer of the season and fourth of his career, clearing the left-field bleachers with a two-run drive off Dillon Gee in the fifth to end a scoreless tie.
“I felt like I located fairly well today, other than a couple pitches that really hurt me,” Gee said. “Wood hitting the home run kind of surprised me because I was throwing so many sliders to him. It was like he was sitting on the fastball as soon as it left my hand.”
Wood made his ninth straight quality start, allowing three runs and five hits in seven innings. He struck out three and walked two. The last Cubs starter to begin a season with at least nine straight quality starts was Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown in 1908.
“Wood was throwing the ball well today,” Murphy said. “He didn’t make a whole lot of mistakes. The one that did, Juan did a great job capitalizing on it. It was an awesome first home run.”
The Mets cut the lead to 2-1 in the sixth on a walk to Gee, a forceout, a wild pitch and an RBI single by David Wright.
The Cubs extended their lead to 3-1 in the bottom half on Ryan Sweeney’s leadoff homer. It was his first home run since July 27, 2011, when he played for Oakland.
Gee allowed three runs and eight hits in five innings. He has allowed nine runs in his last nine innings and hasn’t won since May 1.
“When he’s making his pitches with his changeup, which is his No. 1 pitch anyway, he’s effective,” Collins said.
Sweeney tried to stretch a leadoff double into a triple in the fourth but was thrown out at third. The Cubs also had leadoff doubles in the first and fifth.
NOTES: The Cubs announced reliever Michael Bowden will be designated for assignment to make room for RHP Matt Garza, who is coming off the disabled list on Tuesday. ... Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo struck out in the first inning, ending 39 straight at-bats without a strikeout. ... Cubs RHP Carlos Villanueva was available. He moved to the bullpen to make room for Garza, who will make his season debut on Tuesday against Pittsburgh. Garza strained a back muscle in spring training. Villanueva (1-3) hasn’t won since April 18. He has made 245 of his 309 career appearances as a reliever.