By JAY COHEN | AP Baseball Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — Nico Hoerner's liner landed in the grass in center field. Willson Contreras raced home, and David Robertson closed it out.
And just like that, the Chicago Cubs hit the All-Star break with a sigh of relief, instead of a long losing streak.
Hoerner hit a tiebreaking RBI single with two outs in the eighth inning, and the Cubs stopped a nine-game slide by topping the New York Mets 3-2 on Sunday.
“Lost way too many in a row, whether you want to talk about close games or not,” manager David Ross said. “Winning is the ultimate goal, and that was a really nice base hit today that put us over the hump.”
Christopher Morel sparked Chicago's winning rally with a leadoff infield single against Drew Smith (1-3). Morel advanced to third on Contreras' single and scored on Ian Happ's tapper to the right of the mound.
After Seiya Suzuki popped out, Hoerner's third hit of the day drove in Contreras from second for a 3-2 lead.
“Whether it was me or someone else, obviously just have that moment, have the big swing that we've been missing, yeah, it felt really good,” Hoerner said.
Rowan Wick (2-5) pitched a scoreless inning for the win, and Robertson got three outs for his 13th save.
New York (58-35) had won four in a row and five of six overall. Coming off a taxing doubleheader Saturday that included two extra-inning victories, it closed out a 5-2 trip and headed into the break with a 2 1/2-game lead over Atlanta in the NL East.
“We played good ball the first half,” shortstop Francisco Lindor said. “We showed a lot of professionalism, a lot of days that we bounced back well."
The Mets had a chance to open a 3-1 lead in the eighth, but rookie left fielder Nelson Velázquez threw out Lindor when he attempted to score from second on Eduardo Escobar's single.
“He's shown he's got really good accuracy, poise,” Ross said. “The arm strength's there.”
David Peterson worked five effective innings for New York, and Pete Alonso snapped a tie with a well-placed RBI single. Lindor and Starling Marte had two hits apiece.
Peterson yielded an unearned run and three hits. With Jacob deGrom nearing a return from a stress reaction in his right scapula, Peterson could be moved back to the bullpen when New York returns from the break.
“I want to take advantage of every day that I have and let things work out as they happen,” Peterson said.
It was a sorely needed victory for Chicago (35-57), which had a rough series against New York right up until the very end. The Cubs scored four times and left 24 runners on base in the first three games of the four-game set.
Chicago was helped by another solid performance by Adrian Sampson, who was charged with two runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He threw a career-high 112 pitches, 69 for strikes.
Sampson was hurt by a pair of shaky defensive plays.
With two out and runners on the corners in the first, Sampson picked off Lindor at first. But Lindor avoided shortstop Hoerner’s tag attempt with a dive to the ground, and Marte scampered home on the back end of what was scored as a double steal.
Alonso’s fifth-inning popup landed just out of the reach of first baseman Frank Schwindel and in front of right fielder Suzuki, driving in Brandon Nimmo for a 2-1 lead.
The Cubs brought up right-hander Erich Uelmen from Triple-A Iowa and designated left-hander Daniel Norris for assignment. The 26-year-old Uelmen, a fourth-round pick in the 2017 draft, is looking for his big league debut.
Mets: 1B/OF Dominic Smith and C Tomás Nido each got the day off. Smith rolled his right ankle during Saturday's doubleheader, and manager Buck Showalter said he was still getting tests done to determine the extent of the injury. Nido was getting an MRI exam on his left forearm.
Cubs: RHP Chris Martin hasn't pitched in a game since Wednesday. The reliever is dealing with a tender shoulder.
Mets: Begin a five-game homestand Friday night with the opener of a three-game series against San Diego. Showalter said he wasn't ready to announce his rotation before the finale against Chicago.
Cubs: LHP Justin Steele (3-6, 4.15 ERA) starts Friday night at Philadelphia in the opener of a three-game series. Steele will be followed by RHP Marcus Stroman (2-5, 4.69 ERA) and LHP Drew Smyly (2-5, 4.22 ERA) in the set against the Phillies.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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