Kyle Hendricks took a one-hit shutout into the ninth inning and the Chicago Cubs three-hit the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 5-1 win Monday night to open their important three-game series.
Hendricks (12-11) struck out eight and walked one. A.J. Pollock hit a leadoff homer against Hendricks in the ninth and Paul Goldschmidt added a two-out single before Justin Wilson relieved and closed things out.
Javier Baez homered in Chicago's three-run sixth inning that broke open what had been a pitcher's duel between Hendricks and Patrick Corbin (11-6).
Kris Bryant also homered, and the Cubs maintained their 2 1/2-game lead in the NL Central after second-place Milwaukee beat Cincinnati earlier Monday.
The Diamondbacks led the NL West when the month began but opened the day four games behind first-place Colorado. Arizona has lost 8 of 10 to fall five games out of the second wild card.
The Cubs were struggling on offense, coming off a weekend series in which they scored only five runs in three games. They thrilled a largely pro-Chicago crowd at Chase Field in the sixth, when Albert Almora Jr. and Bryant led off with back-to-back singles. Bryant worked an eight-pitch at-bat against Corbin before his base hit that moved Almora to third base.
Anthony Rizzo hit into a fielder's choice to drive in Almora, and Baez followed with a line drive into the seats in left-center field to make it 3-0.
The sea of blue-and-white-clad Cubs fans roared as Baez rounded the bases.
Bryant went opposite field for his 12th home run, a two-run shot in the eighth off reliever Randall Delgado.
Up next for the Cubs: LHP Mike Montgomery (4-5) is set to face Arizona on Tuesday night, his career-high 17th start of the season.