- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) - Confidence has returned to the Chicago Cubs in the form of what manager Joe Maddon describes as a couple of slices of Meat Loaf.

Anthony Rizzo homered twice off Bartolo Colon, Kyle Hendricks pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings and the Cubs beat the New York Mets 6-2 Wednesday to take two of three in the rematch of last year’s NL Championship Series.

After entering the All-Star break on a 6-15 skid, the Cubs have taken four of six from AL West-leading Texas and the Mets, who swept them in last year’s NL Championship Series.

“A nice homestand. Four out of six ain’t bad,” Maddon said. “Eating Meat Loaf twice, I’ll take it.”

The offbeat Maddon calls winning series eating Meat Loaf, a reference to the singer’s 1977 hit, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.”

“We’ve played six really good games since the break, and that’s the part that has really stood out to me,” Maddon said.

A night after the first four-strikeout game of his big league career, Rizzo pulled a slider to right for a solo homer in the third, a drive that would have traveled 451 feet had it landed at ground level unimpeded, according to MLB’s Statcast program.

Two innings later with a runner on, he sent a fastball into the right-field bleachers - estimated at 436 feet by Statcast - for the 11th multihomer game of his career.

“If they go out just over the yellow line, it’s just as good,” Rizzo said. “But those definitely feel good. I just put good swings on the ball.”

Rizzo also hit a two-run homer in Monday’s victory as the Cubs rebounded from a four-game sweep in New York this month. Chicago has won five of its last seven overall.

“It’s really nice,” Rizzo said. “It’s just what we want to do, keep winning series.”

Hendricks (9-6) gave up seven hits and hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last three appearances. He lowered his ERA to 2.27, third best in the majors behind Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner.

“It seems to go that way when things are kind of going in your favor, you get away with some bad pitches,” Hendricks said. “That was really the case today.”

With the Mets wearing 1986 replica road uniforms, Colon (8-5) allowed allowed six runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings while laboring on the warm, humid day Maddon described as “Instructional League hot.”

“I think mentally I wasn’t all there and I paid the consequences,” Colon said through a translator.

Manager Terry Collins knew it wasn’t Colon’s day when he walked two in the first inning. That led to Addison Russell’s two-run double, one of his three hits.

“There are days I haven’t seen Bartolo throw 15 balls in five innings, let alone in one inning,” Collins said. “Certainly uncharacteristic, but but you’re going to have blips like that once and awhile.”

Javier Baez added an RBI single off Antonio Bastardo in a three-run fifth for Chicago.

New York’s Wilmer Flores hit his fifth home run in eight games, a two-run drive off Travis Wood in the eighth.

The Mets, resting several starters ahead of a series in Miami, wasted chances.

Juan Lagares hit into an inning-ending double play with runners at first and third base in the second. James Loney was thrown out at the plate by Jason Heyward to end the fourth when the center fielder charged Kelly Johnson’s single and made a perfect one-hop throw to catcher Miguel Montero, who barely had to move his mitt.

“The last five or six games I’ve pitched, I’ve had unbelievable defense and they’re scoring runs,” Hendricks said. “That’s a good recipe for success and wins.”


The 43-year-old Colon is 219 days older than Cubs president Theo Epstein.


Mets: OF Yoenis Cespedes, who returned Monday from a strained right quadriceps, sat out. Collins said Cespedes is “not close to being 100 percent.” … 2B Neil Walker and SS Asdrubal Cabrera also rested.

Cubs: CF Dexter Fowler (hamstring) was to begin a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment Wednesday night at Triple-A Iowa.


Mets: RHP Logan Verrett (3-6) faces Marlins LHP Adam Conley (6-5) on Friday night.

Cubs: RHP Jason Hammel (8-5) starts Friday night at Milwaukee and RHP Jimmy Nelson (6-7).

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