Cubs’ Drew Smyly wins lefty duel vs. Giants’ Carlos Rodon

After missing two major-league seasons because of Tommy John surgery and six weeks with a strained oblique, left-hander Drew Smyly is enjoying one of the best stretches of his 10-year career.

Smyly threw seven-plus innings of one-hit ball Friday in outdueling former White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon and earning a 4-2 victory against the Giants.

“You never know somebody’s true character until you’re with them every day and [see] how bad they want to be out there,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “To manage him and watch him go about his business and continue to want to go out there and stay out there, it’s just really rewarding when you watch him pitch, and it finally pays off. [He has] been such a big piece for us.”

Smyly, 33, has allowed one run or fewer in five of his last seven starts, posting a 2.29 ERA. He matched his season high in innings and might have pitched longer had it not been for a throwing error by shortstop Nico Hoerner to start the eighth inning.

“It’s definitely nice to feel confident and in sync with your mechanics and trust your stuff,” said Smyly, who rebounded from his last start Sept. 3 in St. Louis in which he allowed seven runs in 2,, innings.

David Villar’s double with two outs in the second was the only hit allowed by Smyly.

Nostalgic Nico

Hoerner celebrated the third anniversary of his first major-league promotion by singling and stealing second base, which set up Yan Gomes’ home run in the second, and he smacked a two-run homer off Yunior Marte in the sixth that loomed large when Evan Longoria hit a two-run double in the eighth off Manny Rodriguez.

“I actually was aware of that [anniversary],” Hoerner said. “I remember the date. It’s fun.”

Hoerner got his first major-league hit off former Stanford teammate Cal Quantrill in San Diego and has since overcome a COVID-shortened 2020 season and a ridiculous demotion to Triple-A Iowa to start 2021 before emerging as a dependable shortstop.

Madrigal reinjured

Second baseman Nick Madrigal left after three innings because of tightness in his right groin and will undergo tests Saturday. Madrigal missed 46 games because of a left groin injury earlier this season.

Right-hander Keegan Thompson (tight lower back) threw a bullpen session, and catcher Willson Contreras (sprained left ankle) did some light running.

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