The Cubs came into Sunday’s game against the Diamondbacks looking to take two of three and win the season series. Little did they know it would take 5 hours, 36 minutes to do so.
Kris Bryant, who appears to climbing out of his early-season slump, tagged Diamondbacks starter Luke Weaver for a two-run homer in the 3rd to give the Cubs the early 2-0 lead. Bryant has been making better contact and it is only a matter of time before he gets back to the level of offense Cubs fans have come to expect.
Willson Contreras continued his torrid start to 2019 as he mashed a solo homer to left putting the Cubs up 3-0 in the 4th. Eduardo Escobar would get the Diamondbacks on the board in the bottom of the inning with a solo home run of his own.
Cubs starter José Quintana rolled through five innings with that homer as his only real blemish, but his third time through the D-backs’ order negated his otherwise productive outing. Escobar became Q’s Kryptonite in the bottom of the 6th as he pounded a game tying two-run homer. With the game tied 3-3. it would be left up to the bullpens.
Both ‘pens continued to put up zeroes from the 6th inning on for nearly an entire game, escaping several tight spots. The Cubs squandered a golden opportunity in the top of the 12th when Diamondbacks reliever Jon Duplantier loaded the bases with no outs. Anthony Rizzo, Javy Báez and David Bote failed to come through with a clutch hit.
The Diamondbacks had their chance to win it in the bottom of the 13th after Dillon Maples loaded the bases with two outs. Joe Maddon would call on Tyler Chatwood to get out of it and the suddenly trustworthy reliever struck out pinch-hitter John Ryan Murphy to send it to the 14th.
After multiple missed opportunities to take the lead, the Cubs finally broke through in the 15th inning. Chatwood, who had to bat for himself, scorched a one-out double to the right-center gap and advanced to third on Albert Almora Jr. single. World Series hero Ben Zobrist then smacked a double into the right field corner to score both runners. Zobrist score on a Bryant sac-fly to left to put the Cubs up 6-3.
The Diamondbacks mounted a mini rally of their own in the bottom of the 15th against Kyle Ryan. Pinch hitter Caleb Joseph hit an two-out, two-run single to make to it 6-5 and Maddon had to call upon his last remaining pitcher in the ,pen, Allen Webster, to close it out. Webster gave up a long, loud out to Zobrist on the warning track in left to notch his first career save. (Box Score)
Why the Cubs Won
Despite the two runs allowed the 15th, the Cubs bullpen pitched brilliantly. A combined eight relievers kept the Cubs in this one until the offense was able to take the lead once again.
Zobrist’s first extra-base hit of the season broke up the 3-3 tie in the 15th.
Stats That Matter
- Quintana: 5.2 IP, 2 K, 5 Hits, 3 run earned
- Bryant: 1-for-6, two-run homer, 3 RBI, HBP
- Contreras: 1-for-6 solo HR, RBI, HBP, SB
- Schwarber: 2-for-4, BB, two singles
- Zobrist: 2-for-2, two-run triple, 2 RBI, runs
It wasn’t pretty, but the Cubs came away with the victory. Despite missed opportunities in the 12th, 13th and 14th innings, they were able to pull this one out. Give credit to Zobrist, who has been scuffling at the plate offensively, for finally coming through with that clutch hit when his team needed him the most.
With an off day on Monday, the Cubs will resume play Tuesday night against the Seattle Mariners as Cole Hamels opposes Felix Hernandez. First pitch is at 9:10pm CT, televised on NBC Sports Chicago and on the radio at 670 The Score.