Murphy's HR leads Mets over Cubs
Scott Rice isn't the only reliever in the New York Mets' bullpen arsenal, but he's certainly been the most dependable.
Making his major league-leading 25th appearance, Rice (2-3) worked perfect seventh and eighth innings for the win as the Mets topped the Chicago Cubs in a 4-3 come-from-behind victory Sunday afternoon.
The Mets took two of three from the Cubs, their first series win at Wrigley Field since 2007 and only their third in Chicago since 1996.
Rice pitched a pair of one-two-three innings after New York rallied to tie in the top of the seventh and go ahead in the eighth. He struck out one while matching a season-high two-inning stint.
"You talk about grabbing those opportunities and that's what he's done," New York manager Terry Collins said. "All those years in the minor leagues and now he's in the big leagues and he's not intimidated by anything. He's throwing strikes and he gets ground balls, that's the part that I like."
Bobby Parnell worked the ninth for his sixth save.
"(Going two innings) was great, it kind of helped me get into a flow," said Rice, who is on track to match the Mets' all-time record for relief appearances (101). "I was able to work off my sinker instead of throwing a lot of sliders ... I had gotten away from throwing my fastball and so I was able to get out there and throw it a little more."
Juan Lagares and Daniel Murphy each hit late-inning home runs to pace the winners.
Lagares had a two-run shot to left in his seventh against Cubs starter Travis Wood to tie the game 3-3. The homer, his first in the major leagues, was a pleasant breakthrough for a player hitting just .179 average in 18 games.
"When I came here I just tried to keep doing the same thing I was doing in Triple-A," Lagares said. "I'm not doing very good right now, but the key is to keep working hard."
Murphy, meanwhile, lined an eighth-inning homer to right field -- his lone hit of the day -- to break the tie.
"I got a good pitch to hit, didn't miss it," he said. "It was probably one of bigger home runs I've hit."
Neither Sunday starter figured in the decisions. Kyuji Fujikawa (1-1) worked one inning while giving up the homer to Murphy and took the loss.
Wood was the latest Cubs' pitcher to show off hitting skills, clubbing a fifth-inning home run for a 2-0 lead. It was the fourth of his career and first of the season.
Wood took Mets' starter Dillon Gee's 1-0 pitch and launched a towering shot to the back of the left field bleachers, scoring Welington Castillo after Castillo had reached on a lead-off double.
On Saturday, Cubs' right-hander Scott Feldman doubled in two runs in the fourth inning, helping Chicago to an 8-2 victory.
The Mets got one run back in the sixth when David Wright singled home Murphy from second with two out. Murphy had reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to scoring position on Wood's wild pitch.
Cubs' left fielder Ryan Sweeney replied in the sixth with a solo home run to right -- his first of the season -- to restore a two-run lead.
Nate Schierholtz followed with a double, and the Mets pulled Gee in favor of right-hander Greg Burke. In five innings, Gee gave up three earned runs on eight hits, walked one and struck out six.
Lagares tied the game with two out in the seventh with a shot to left that also scored Ruben Tejada.
"I wish I could have that pitch back," Wood said. "I went with a change up and was trying to get it down and happened to leave it up and he put a good swing on it and hit out of the park and tied the ballgame."
Wood didn't return for the eighth after giving up eight hits and three earned runs. He struck out three and walked a pair.
"Woody pitched another great game," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "It was the last batter he was going to face and threw the worst pitch of the game in that situation. It was unfortunate.
"We pitched great, we just couldn't keep the ball in the ballpark."
Tejada went 2-for-4 while Lagares was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored.
David DeJesus, Sweeney and Castillo each had two hits for the Cubs.
NOTES: The Cubs hit the road Tuesday for an eight-game road trip that includes two games in Chicago against the crosstown White Sox. From May 27-June 13, the Cubs will play 14 of 16 games in Chicago. ... Feldman has four RBIs in his last four pitching appearances, joining Carlos Zambrano as the only Cubs hurlers in the last 15 seasons to go 3-0 while driving in at least four runs over four games, according Elias Sports Bureau. ... The Mets announced Sunday that third baseman Wright has one more hit for the season. On May 16 in St. Louis, an official scorer ruled Wright hit into a fielder's choice in the ninth inning. Major League Baseball changed it to a hit following a review. ... Wright was hitting .429 (15-for-25) with runners in scoring position entering Sunday, the seventh-best mark in the National League. ... Matt Harvey is fifth in the league with a 1.55 ERA and second in strikeouts with 68.
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