The Cubs played another extra-inning game on their west coast road trip, this time the result was much more enjoyable. A ninth-inning rally gave the Cubs renewed life, and they would go on to win the first game of their three-game series Friday night in San Diego.
Tyler Chatwood did…well…Tyler Chatwood things to start the game. A pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases with none out in the bottom of the first. Eric Hosmer scalded a grounder up the middle that Javy Baez made an incredible play on for a force out that scored a run. The Padres failed to add on against Chatwood in that inning.
The Cubs rallied back in the top of the 2nd inning. Baez doubled to start it followed by walks to Addison Russell and Ben Zobrist to lead the bases with one out. Ian Happ singled up the middle to score two and give Chicago a 2-1 lead. San Diego bounced right back the next half-inning with pitcher Clayton Richard singling and scoring on a Travis Jankowski homer.
The Northsiders evened the game at three in the top of the fifth inning. Anthony Rizzo singled, snapping an 0-21 slump, but was retired on an Albert Almora force out. A bad throw on the attempted double play allowed Almora to move to second, where he scored on a Kris Bryant double.
Things stayed right there, until the bottom of the eighth inning. Carl Edwards pitched great, but tired in his second inning of work allowing a Manuel Margot double and an Austin Hedges single to give the Padres a 4-3 lead. The Cubs were down to their final out against closer Brad Hand with pinch-hitter Victor Caratini at the plate. Victory Carrot got hit by a pitch and then scored when Rizzo split the left-center gap for a game-tying double.
There was more patented El Mago magic in the top of the tenth inning. Baez hit a little dribbler against side-armer Adam Cimber that looked as if it would go foul, however it stayed on the line and hit the base for an infield hit. Javy stole second base and moved on to third when the throw sailed into center. With a misplay on the ball in center by Manuel Margot, Javy just kept on running to score the eventual game-winning run. Brandon Morrow pitched around a leadoff single to close out the 5-4 win. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
Anthony Rizzo picked a great time to snap out of his slump, his ninth inning double saved the game for the Cubs.
After they committed similar errors earlier in the trip, Chicago benefited from a comedy of errors on the base paths on Friday. Baez was heads up to keep his eye on the play in center and just drive towards the plate once there was a bobble.
Stats That Matter
- Chatwood still struggled but did look a bit better: 5.0 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 2 K, and 3 BB. Maddon was very quick with the hook, pulling Tyler after five innings and only 74 pitches.
- Rizzo had three hits, including two doubles out of the leadoff spot in the order. Hopefully this is the beginning of a hot streak. Joe Maddon said Rizzo would return to the leadoff spot Saturday.
- Javy made things happen all over the place. On defense, with the bat, and of course with his legs. He is must see television at this point. Overall Javy was 2-4 with a double, two runs scored and walk hitting out of the cleanup spot Friday.
With the Brewers loss in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have moved into a tie for first-place. They are actually two games up in the loss column, thus putting them atop the standings for the moment. Let’s hope it stays that way!
Game two of the series is a pitching matchup of Kyle Hendricks and Luis Perdomo. Saturday’s game starts at 9:10 pm CT, it airs on MLB Network (out of market) and ABC-7.