For their sake, the Chicago Cubs (4-4) better not make a habit of trying to come back late against good relievers. But it worked out on Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks (4-5). The Cubs erased Arizona’s lead with two in the 7th and four in the 8th en route to a simulated 7-5 win at Wrigley Field, via MLB The Show 20.
The Cubs took the lead early against D-Backs starter Luke Weaver in the bottom of the 2nd. Kyle Schwarber walked to start the inning and came around to score on an RBI double by Ian Happ. But that’s all Weaver would allow them, going only four innings and allowing three hits, two walks, and one earned run while striking out five.
Weaver’s early exit opened the door for right-handed reliever Merrill Kelly, who was also solid in two shutout innings. Meanwhile, Jon Lester wasn’t his sharpest for the Cubs, letting go of the lead in the 4th inning when left fielder David Peralta hit a two-run homer to put Arizona in front 2-1. Lester allowed two more runs in the 5th on a sacrifice fly and an RBI single from Starling Marte.
The Diamondbacks held their 4-1 lead into the bottom of the 7th, when they went to reliever Kevin Ginkel. Kris Bryant walked with one out against the right-hander and moved to third on a double by Anthony Rizzo. Javier Báez scored Bryant on a sacrifice fly and Schwarber knocked a single to drive home Rizzo and cut the lead to 4-3.
Rowan Wick pitched the top of the 8th and allowed another run to Arizona, pushing their lead to 5-3. Then came the big rally in the bottom half of the inning. The D-Backs sent Archie Bradley to the mound and Jason Heyward got him for a leadoff double. A flyout by Jason Kipnis sent Heyward to third and a triple off the bat of Albert Almora Jr. cut the lead to 5-4.
Next up was Bryant, who absolutely demolished a fastball from Bradley. The ball went 461 feet to left field, giving the Cubs the lead once again at 6-5. Rizzo then put the nail in the coffin, sending one just over the wall in left-center.
Craig Kimbrel earned his second save of the season and in as many days against the D-Backs. For as wild as the 8th was, the top of the 9h was fairly tame. Kimbrel faced only three batters, striking out two and closing out a win to bring the Cubs back to .500 early in the simulated season.
Notes: Reliever Ryan Tepera pitched two innings following Lester, allowing a hit and a walk but zero earned runs. He has a 0.00 ERA in his three appearances (3 1/3 innings) this season … Heyward is off to a hot start, hitting .350 so far this year … Kipnis, however, is not doing so well early in his Cubs tenure. He has yet to collect his first hit of the season. Kipnis is not only attempting to fend off Nico Hoerner, who is at Triple-A, but the red-hot David Bote for playing time at second base.
Bryant – 1-for-3, 2 BB, HR, 2 RBI
Rizzo – 2-for-5, 2B, HR, RBI
Báez – 2-for-4, RBI, SB
Happ – 2-for-4, 2B
Heyward – 2-for-4, 2B
Almora – 1-for-2, 3B, RBI
Tepera – 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K
Peralta – 3-for-4, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI
S. Marte – 1-for-4, RBI
Weaver – 4 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 5 K
Winning Pitcher – Wick (1-0)
Losing Pitcher – Bradley (0-1)
Save – Kimbrel (2)
Home Runs – Bryant (1), Rizzo (2), Peralta (1)