As Len Kasper described tonight’s game, “It was like one of those rollercoasters that’s slow with not much happening for a long time and then all of a sudden the last little bit gets really, really exciting.” For eight innings Cubs’ hitters were dead in the water. But a spark from Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo, along with a key home run by Jason Heyward off Josh Hader in the 9th propelled the Cubs to a 4-2 win against the Brewers.
Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat was no small task for the Cubs in Milwaukee. Their offense had been silent and scoreless for 17 innings until they finally got the monkey off their back against one of the best relievers in the game. Cubs’ starter, Kyle Hendricks, was looking like he’d be the bad luck loser. He worked 7 2/3 innings with the only blemish being a Ryan Braun home run in the 4th inning that made it 2-0 Brewers.
Javier Báez delivered a single to get things started with one out in the 9th. Rizzo then yanked a slider into right field to put men on the corners, setting the table for Heyward. After falling behind in the count 1-2, Heyward deposited a 95 mph down-and-in fastball 416 feet over the wall in right-center to put the Cubs up 3-2. Next up, Ildemaro Vargas launched a bomb that fittingly landed in Craig Kimbrel‘s glove in the Cubs’ pen for a little insurance.
Kimbrel entered for his first save opportunity in quite some time and, after giving up two hits to start the inning, was able to secure the victory. (Box Score)
Why the Cubs Won
The Cubs grinded this win out. Plain and simple.
Hader made a huge mistake throwing Heyward a low, inside fastball with two strikes in the top of the 9th. Heyward made him pay. Big time.
Stats That Matter
- Kimbrel saved his second game of the season, and first since August 19th. He now has 23 Ks in 12 IP this year.
- The Cubs had 8 hits tonight, and 4 in the 9th.
- Báez was 2-for-4 with a run scored
- Hendricks will be the forgotten man in this one, but he was great: 7.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 7 Ks.
The offense was downright depressing for eight innings tonight and the first 17 of this series. Some fans probably turned off their tubes. Even still, they came alive at the right time, and now the Cubs will have a chance to win the series tomorrow.