The Chicago Cubs (63-41) got down early after Brian Matusz, who was called up from Iowa to make the spot start today, gave up six runs by surrendering a two-run home run in each of the first three innings. He didn’t make it to the fourth inning, getting replaced by Carl Edwards, Jr., and just in time.
Edwards was filthy, striking out five batters in his two innings of work. After the Cubs scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Joe Nathan entered the game in the top of the sixth, giving up a walk and a double. Joe Maddon quickly made the call to the ‘pen and brought in Travis Wood. Wood then walked the first batter he faced to load the bases with no outs. Suddenly all prospects of keeping the game respectable were starting to wane.
Travis Wood would not be undone. He struck out the next two batters and got Robinson Cano to pop out to get the Cubs out of the precarious jam without giving up a single run. A moment that would prove to be fateful.
In the top of the seventh inning Joe started playing chess right there on the field, with real players and everything. He moved Travis Wood to left field to take over for Chris Coghlan. It’s a move Joe’s made before, most recently when he played three pitchers in left field in the Cubs’ 15 inning win against the Reds this past June.
That game turned out pretty well, so why not give it a shot again. With two outs, Franklin Gutierrez hammered a line shot to left field and it looked like trouble heading towards Travis Wood, who made an incredible catch, crashing into the left field wall to the roar of the crowd.
The Cubs tacked on another run on a Ben Zobrist triple in the bottom of the seventh inning. They headed to the bottom of the ninth down 6-3. But there was something different about this game, something that made you feel like, even though the Cubs were down, they had the Mariners right where they wanted them.
That notion would hold true, as the Cubs would score three runs in the bottom of the ninth. The tying run came off a wild pitch uncorked by Steve Cishek after Willson Contreras hustled to beat out a possible double play throw to first base just moments earlier. The game was tied and, unbelievably, heading into extra innings.
Aroldis Chapman would come in to pitch the tenth inning and, of course, he completely shut down the Mariners. He would be replaced by Hector Rondon in the eleventh inning. Both pitchers combined to pitch a strong three innings for the Cubs by allowing no hits and striking out two.
In the top of the 12th inning Jason Heyward led off with a booming shot to right center field. Off the bat it looked like a home run and just missed the basket, bounding off the wall and leading to a double for Heyward. A sacrifice fly by Contreras got Heyward to third base with one out.
With the winning run on third base Joe Maddon was obviously going to pinch hit for Hector Rondon but the bench had been depleted. Up stepped Jon Lester, who laid down a beautiful bunt that drove in Heyward on an incredible safety squeeze. It was an amazing way to end an unbelievable game for the Cubs.
The Cubs make a big comeback and win 7-6 in 12 innings (Box Score).
Stats that matter
- Matusz was awful and I’d be surprised to see him pitch for the Cubs again – 3.0IP, 6R, 6H, 2BB, 2Ks, 3HRs
- Edwards was masterful – 2.0IP, 0R, 0H, 5Ks
- Travis Wood did it all, a pick-off, getting out of a bases loaded, no-out jam, and crashing into the wall to make a grab.
- Aroldis Chapman and Hector Rondon make quite a team – 3.0IP, 0R, 0H, 2Ks
- Ben Zobrist was clutch – 3-for-5, 1R, 2RBIs, 1BB, 3B
- Jason Heyward had one hit and it was huge
Well that was just downright unbelievable. I’m not really sure that there’s any way to convey everything that happened in this game (but I tried!), it was that crazy. There were so many game-changing moments for the Cubs, so much that needed to happen for them to win. And like dominos falling, one after another, everything that needed to happen, did.
The Cubs will take on the Marlins Monday night at 7:05 PM CDT. Kyle Hendricks (9-7, 2.39 ERA) will take the hill for the Cubs.