It was a game the Cubs didn’t want to play, a makeup of Sunday’s rainout that took up the Northsiders’ first day off in almost a month. It was a see-saw affair that the road team eventually pulled out in extra innings, but a key injury may make it a hollow victory.
Mike Montgomery and Joe Ross were effective early with no score through two. Backup catcher Spencer Kieboom gave the Nats a 1-0 lead with a solo shot to center field in the 3rd. The Cubs came back in the 4th thanks to their MVP candidate. Javy Baez doubled home Kris Bryant to tie the score, the Victor Caratini singled to score Javy for a 2-1 edge.
Montgomery got a quick hook in the 5th after a leadoff single. Jesse Chavez took over and allowed a hit and sac fly by Victor Robles to tie the game at 2-2. Baez smashed a laser-beam homer to right to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead in the 6th.
Carl Edwards Jr. once again struggled in the 7th inning. Robles walked and Trea Turner doubled to knot the score at 3 once again. The Cubs squandered a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the 8th inning and the game moved to extras.
Bryant doubled off of Sean Doolittle with one down in the 10th inning and moved to third on a Daniel Murphy infield hit. Javy, like it would be anyone else, pushed a bunt past first base to score KB with the go-ahead run. Koda Glover came on and walked Willson Contraries to load the bases with one out.
Pedro Strop, who had recorded five outs, was on deck and Randy Rosario was warming. Joe Maddon decided to let Strop hit for himself and the result was an utter disaster. He hit into a double play, then pulled up injured after running down the line. Rosario was forced to pitch the 10th and got three straight batters to save the win. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
The Cubs were able to overcome the many mistakes they made to pull out a key victory. As it seems to be often in 2018, Baez was the difference-maker at the plate, driving in three of the four runs scored.
The decision to let Strop take the at-bat was a very costly one. With Edwards’ struggles and Brandon Morrow’s injury status up in the air, this injury could be devastating. After the game Maddon said he would miss some time, a commodity there isn’t much left of this year.
Stats That Matter
- Montgomery had a decent start, if a bit short: 4 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 2 K, and 1 BB. He is still easing back into the rotation after his injury. Strop’s injury may force him to play a bigger role in the bullpen.
- Bryant is starting to heat up and had three hits Thursday. They could really use a hot streak from the former MVP.
The win Thursday was a critical one for the Cubs’ division chances. With Tommy La Stella available on the bench and a chance to expand the lead, it was a bad move to let Strop bat.
The Cubs head home for a rare 7:05pm CT start against the Reds on Friday. Cole Hamels takes on Matt Harvey in the first of a three-game series. MLB Network (out of market) and WGN have television coverage.