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The 5 Best Cubs Regular-Season Games Of 2016

And I could have chosen way more than five.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

As you know, I’m reposting all the recaps of Cubs wins from 2016 day-by-day.

But I thought as the year ended I’d post my picks for the five best regular-season games the Cubs played in the year just completed. Why "regular-season"? Because if I included the postseason, several of those wins (Game 4 of the NLDS, Game 6 of the NLCS, and Games 6 and 7 of the World Series, at the very least) would dominate the list. Game 7 of the WS isn’t just the best Cubs game in our lifetimes and perhaps ever, it might someday go down as one of the best games in major-league history.

So here are my picks for the five best games from the 2016 Cubs regular season, ranked from No. 5 to No. 1. There are quite a number of others that could have made this list, too. There are many different reasons for choosing these games, from the score to interesting or odd things that happened.

5) April 21: Cubs 16, Reds 0

Not only was this just the second time the Cubs had won by shutout by this many runs since 1969 (here’s the other one), the Cubs hit five home runs, including two by Kris Bryant. Bryant scored four runs and drove in six in this blowout.

Oh, and Jake Arrieta threw his second no-hitter.

4) June 28: Cubs 7, Reds 2 (15 innings)

This was the first time — but not the last! — where Joe Maddon got creative with relief pitchers in the outfield. Pedro Strop, Spencer Patton and Travis Wood all got time in left field in this marathon, though none got an outfield chance. After Kris Bryant drove in the lead run in the 15th, Javier Baez put the cherry on top with a grand slam, the latest (by inning) slam in Cubs history.

3) May 30: Cubs 2, Dodgers 0

After Jason Hammel was forced to leave the game with cramps after two innings, the Cubs’ bullpen — Travis Wood, Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon — threw seven perfect innings, striking out eight. Hammel had allowed a first-inning single by Justin Turner, otherwise the Cubs would have put together a combined no-hitter.

2) May 8: Cubs 4, Nationals 3 (13 innings)

Not only did the Cubs totally frustrate Bryce Harper by walking him six times in this game (and he reached a seventh time on a HBP), but the Cubs came back from a 3-1 deficit in part because Trevor Cahill, left in to bat for himself, got a hit and eventually scored on a two-run single by Kris Bryant. After having Jason Heyward thrown out at the plate in the 12th, they won on a walkoff homer by Javier Baez in the 13th.

1) July 31: Cubs 7, Mariners 6 (12 innings)

This one had a little bit of everything. First, a horrendous starting outing by Brian Matusz that put the Cubs down 6-0 after three innings. A three-run comeback to tie in the bottom of the ninth, the tying run scoring on a wild pitch — on an 0-2 count to Matt Szczur. And then, the 12th-inning rally to win the game, capped by a perfect squeeze bunt by Jon Lester.

You might have some other choice for the best regular-season Cubs game of 2016. Honorable mention from me to the following: May 18, June 19, August 29, September 4 and October 2. Vote for your favorite in the poll.