Halfway through Saturday’s game at Wrigley, it appeared like things were going the Cardinals way. Then an unlikely grand slam got the Cubs back in the game and more El Mago wizardry gave Chicago a big win.
Yu Darvish got through the top of the 1st and the Cubs scored first off of Michael Wacha. Daniel Descalso singled and the ball scooted past Dexter Fowler, allowing the second baseman to make third base. Kris Bryant served a single to right to score Descalso, who left later in the game with ankle soreness.
Right fielder José Martinez ended the inning throwing out Bryant at third on a David Bote single, then tied the game immediately after with a long homer to left to lead off the 2nd. Wacha chopped a double down the third base line in the 3rd inning and scored on a Matt Carpenter double to give St. Louis a 2-1 advantage.
Darvish really ran into trouble in the next frame as Martinez hit a high fly ball that Bryant lost in the sun in right for a double. Then, after a Yadier Molina strikeout, Darvish walked Fowler and Kolten Wong to load the bases for Wacha. The Cardinal pitcher got his second hit, a two-run single, to increase the lead to 4-1. Carpenter knocked in another run before a Paul Goldschmidt double play finally stopped the bleeding.
The Cubs started an unlikely rally in the 4th inning with a Javy Báez infield single. Bote followed with another single and Albert Almora Jr. bunted the runners over for the first out. Then St. Louis prudently walked Kyle Schwarber to get to light-hitting backup catcher Taylor Davis. So, naturally, Davis crushed Wacha’s first pitch for a no-doubt grand slam to left to tied the score at five apiece.
Darvish walked the first two batters of the 5th inning, but got off the hook when Kyle Ryan came in with the bases loaded and one out. Fowler hit a force out to home and Wong grounded out to keep the score even. Ryan and Brad Brach handled the 6h inning. Steve Cishek loaded the bags in the 7th before inducing a Matt Wieters pop-up to again avoid damage.
Brandon Kintzler handled the 8th and set himself up to earn the win. Báez led off the bottom of the inning with a fly ball down the right field line that dropped foul. The Cubs challenged that it was fair, but they lost the review. Let me tell you, it’s good they did, because Javy resumed the at bat and smoked a long solo home run to right to give the home team a 6-5 lead. Pedro Strop slammed the door in the 9th and the Cubs won the series. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
Chicago’s bullpen kept the dangerous Cardinals offense off the board for five innings after Darvish left early. Things got a little tense a couple times, but nothing came across the plate. That gave Javy enough time to be Javy and give the Northsiders a win.
Davis gave Wrigley Field a massive jolt with his first career homer. By the way, a game-tying grand slam against your team’s most bitter rival is a pretty epic first-ever dong. The game seemed like it was going nowhere up to that point for the Cubs.
Stats That Matter
- Walks again were a huge issue for Darvish: 4 IP, 5 R, 6 H, 4 K, and 5 BB. Control just seems like it is very fluid in his outings, completely vanishing for stretches. His stuff is drool-inducing, but if you can’t throw strikes you will pay for it.
- Bote had another nice game with two hits and a walk, forcing the Cubs to keep starting him every day.
- Kintzler, Brach, and Ryan all looked very good Saturday. Starting to feel a little more confident in them as the season develops.
The Cubs didn’t give in despite falling behind early to a very good team. Even though the top of the 4th was demoralizing, it didn’t cause Chicago much concern. They bounced right back and pulled out a big game. Also, Javy. I mean come on, what else can you say. Wow.
The Cubs go for the sweep on Sunday Night Baseball at 6:05pm CT. José Quintana battles the veteran Adam Wainwright on the mound. The game is exclusively on ESPN, but if you would like to spare your ears from A-Rod a radio feed is available on 670 the Score.