If a grand slam was music it’d be the loudest, most rocking song you’ve ever heard. Last night at Wrigley Field the Cubs’ Miguel Montero burned down the house with that jam – an enormous, towering, majestic grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning with two strikes and two outs.
I, like many of you, have seen a lot of games at Wrigley Field and that was the loudest I’ve ever heard it. The entire stadium was shaking from the deafening roar while people shared joy in a pure, unadulterated celebration. It was, a thing of beauty. As a Cubs fan, it was a moment we’ve longed for.
There were so many twists and turns in that game last night that it nearly felt like a game 7, not a game 1. The Cubs scored early, in the first inning, after Dexter Fowler led off with a single and was driven home by Kris Bryant’s line-drive double over the head of left fielder Howie Kendrick to make the score 1-0.
Jason Heyward then showed his mettle with a lead-off triple in the bottom of the second inning. Next up, Javier Baez, who’s been an incredible stud in the playoffs so far, blooped a soft shot to never-land in between three players in left center field, scoring Heyward and hustling in to second for a double.
After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Javy Baez began to dart towards home plate on what he thought would be a bunt by Jon Lester. It looked like he was going to get caught up in a rundown as Dodgers catcher, Carlos Ruiz, immediately threw the ball to third base. Baez bolted towards home, completely committed to scoring and score he did.
Jon Lester was seemingly cruising along in the game. He got in trouble in the top of the second inning when Dodgers pitcher, Kenta Maeda, singled just past a diving Kris Bryant and Addison Russell. Adrian Gonzalez rounded third base to score and Ben Zobrist came up gunning and threw him out at the plate to preserve the lead.
Lester gave up a home run to Andre Ethier in the top of the fifth inning but otherwise, he was holding on pretty well in the game. In the bottom of the sixth inning, with the Cubs up 3-1, Javier Baez hit his second double of the game. With Javy in scoring position and two outs, Joe Maddon decided to pinch hit for Lester, ending his night after just 77 pitches. Soler grounded out.
The Cubs took the 3-1 lead into the top of the eighth inning, after three pitching changes in the top of the seventh inning. Pedro Strop was brought in to replace Mike Montgomery after he gave up a lead-off single to start the eighth. Strop then proceeded to load the bases and there were still no outs. In comes Aroldis Chapman. It was starting to feel like one of those moments for the Cubs.
Chapman managed to strike out the next two batters and suddenly it looked like maybe the Cubs would get out of the mess. That’s when Adrian Gonzalez hit a game-tying single. The game was knotted heading into the bottom of the eighth inning and that’s when Wrigley exploded.
Grand slam Miguel Montero followed by a first pitch home run by Dexter Fowler. Exclamation, exhalation abound (Box Score).
Stats that matter
- Jon Lester was solid – 6.0IP, 1R, 4H, 1BB, 3Ks, HR
- Aroldis Chapman nearly bailed the Cubs out of an impossible, bases loaded situation with no outs – 1.0IP, 0ER, 1H, 2Ks
- Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon did not have their best stuff – each was charged with a run late
- Dexter Fowler had an enormous game, offensively and defensively, making some incredible catches – 2-for-5, 2R, 1RBI
- Javier Baez has been sensational all year and now, the whole world knows his name – 2-for-4, 1R, 1RBI, 2 doubles and 1 incredible steal of home base
- Miguel Montero was the orchestral conductor of the Wrigley Field crescendo with his enormous grand slam
That game literally had it all, stunning offensive heroics, incredible defensive plays, strange managerial decisions and, let’s not forget, Javier Baez stealing home. Did that really all just happen in game one of the freakin’ NLCS?!
Yep, it sure did.
Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13 ERA) goes up against the Dodgers big, bad bully in Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA). This one’s going to be good. Game time is 7:08 PM CT.
You can check out the series preview here.