The Cubs appeared to be headed for a second consecutive gut-wrenching loss in Milwaukee Tuesday afternoon. They blew another big lead and limped into extra innings, but then two remarkable defensive plays stunned everyone and helped Chicago pull out an unlikely victory.
Kyle Hendricks got the start and was very good, holding the Brewers hitless through the first four innings. Designated hitter Yan Gomes doubled home Seiya Suzuki, who had tripled, to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning. Dansby Swanson hit a mammoth home run to center field off of former Cub Wade Miley to double the advantage in the 3rd.
Trey Mancini hit a sacrifice fly and Cody Bellinger had an RBI single to put the North Siders up 4-0 in the 5th inning. Hendricks gave up a run on a Brice Turang single in the bottom of the frame. Catcher Miguel Amaya tried to make a spectacular play on dribbler from William Contreras in the 6th but his underhanded shovel attempt got past first base when Contreras interfered with the throw and wasn’t called for it, allowing a second Brewer run to score.
Amaya clapped back with a two-run double to left in the top of the 8th inning. That insurance would turn out to be badly needed as Mark Leiter Jr. struggled in the bottom half. Rowdy Tellez singled in a tally and Leiter was replaced by closer Adbert Alzolay, who gave up an RBI double to Willy Adames before escaping with a 6-4 edge.
Alzolay came back out for the 9th and more trouble ensued as the first two hitters singled. Christian Yelich then singled home a run and Contreras hit the game-tying sacrifice fly, but a strikeout of Tellez got the game to extra innings.
Reliever Daniel Palencia made his major league debut in the 10th inning and it looked like it would be a loss. Owen Miller hit a one-out single to left and pinch-runner Andruw Monasterio came around from second with what would be the winning run. Ian Happ cut loose a desperation throw to the plate and nailed Monasterio, then Miller tried to move up to second after the play at home and Amaya fired to get him for an amazing double play.
Just your average 7-2-4 double play. pic.twitter.com/ogw51KoeWt
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 4, 2023
Nico Hoerner beat out an infield single in the 11th to give the Cubs a 7-6 lead. Palencia attempted to finish off the game in the bottom of the frame and a ground ball moved the automatic runner to third with one out. Miller tagged on a fly to medium-depth left and Happ made another amazing throw to get the runner and win the game for his squad. (Box score)
It really felt like the game was over when Miller singled in the 10th and Happ’s throw was absolutely massive. Also, it was a terrific play by Hoerner at second base to keep the tag on Miller when he overslid the bag.
Why the Cubs Won
The outstanding defense was just enough to stave off another bullpen collapse, which seemed very likely in the 10th inning.
Stats That Matter
- Another quality start from Hendricks, real shame he didn’t get the win: 6 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 H, 5 K, and 1 BB.
- Suzuki had two hits Tuesday and finally broke out of his slump.
- Definitely a memorable first career win for Daniel Palencia.
There were some real Independence Day fireworks in that wild contest. The Cubs still have a lot of issues at the moment but at least they were able to steal a win there. I have really no idea what to expect for Wednesday, one thing I’m pretty sure of is it won’t be boring.