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Jul 2, 4:03 PM EDT

Herrera's bunt, blast leads Cubs over feeble Mets for sweep


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NEW YORK (AP) -- Jonathan Herrera filled in neatly for Kris Bryant, driving in three runs with a squeeze bunt and homer that sent Jake Arrieta and the Chicago Cubs past the feeble New York Mets 6-1 Thursday for a three-game sweep.

Miguel Montero also homered as the Cubs beat the Mets for a team-record ninth time in a row, and finished 7-0 against them this season.

Arrieta (8-5) pitched eight sharp innings, helping extend the Cubs' shutout string to 25 innings before the Mets managed their only run of this series.

Arrieta gave up five hits, walked none and struck out seven. The crowd booed several times as New York kept making weak outs and breaking their bats.

Jacob deGrom (8-6) doubled and scored for the Mets, who have totaled a mere 23 runs in 14 games.

DeGrom delivered another hard hit, too. The righty exited after Herrera's two-run homer in the sixth inning, then punched a Gatorade cooler in the dugout with his pitching hand.

Chicago manager Joe Maddon gave Bryant a routine day off, wanting to rest the slugging rookie third baseman. Maddon also said Herrera often made good things happen when he was in the lineup, and the quirky skipper was right.

The Cubs arrived at Citi Field with a five-game losing streak, and Maddon brought in a magician to entertain the players before the series opener. That was theme of the visit as their woes disappeared - prior to the finale, the clubhouse was filled with the 1965 hit "Do You Believe in Magic" by The Lovin' Spoonful.

Herrera put the Cubs ahead 1-0 in the second with a first-pitch, safety-squeeze bunt with runners at the corners. Anthony Rizzo blooped an RBI single for 2-1 lead in the fifth.

Herrera hit his first home run in nearly two years, sending a drive off the padding on top of the right-field wall. It was the Cubs' first homer in nine games.

Montero hit a two-run homer in the ninth. The catcher also picked off Daniel Murphy at first base on a call reversed by replay.

DeGrom and Curtis Granderson doubled in the third for the Mets' run, stopping their scoreless streak at 22 innings.

Mets manager Terry Collins tinkered with his batting order, but conceded before the game that with so many players slumping, there's "not a lot of changes I could make."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cubs: OF Jorge Soler, who's missed nearly a month with a sprained left ankle, is "close" to returning, Maddon said. Maddon said it's possible he could be back when Chicago hosts St. Louis early next week.

Mets: LF Michael Cuddyer missed his second straight game because of a sore left knee. He's been given two injections and Collins wants to see if they'll take effect soon.

UP NEXT

Cubs: Back at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon to take on Miami, beginning a 10-game homestand leading into the All-Star break. Jason Hammel (5-3, 2.92) faces the Marlins' Tom Koehler (6-4, 3.66).

Mets: Start a rugged six-game trip by facing Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium on Friday night, followed by Los Angeles ace Zack Greinke on the Fourth of July. Then the Mets visit San Francisco next week, where they're lined up to see rookie Chris Heston, who pitched a no-hitter against them June 9. Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and rookie Steven Matz start for the Mets in LA.

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