It rained at Wrigley Field Thursday. It rained a lot. It rained enough that the game was delayed an hour and a half at its start, another 35 minutes in the second inning and then half an hour when a heavy shower popped up almost right over the ballpark just before the ninth inning started.
Wade Davis had warmed up. He was just about ready to throw his first pitch when the umpires decided it was raining too hard to continue. (It had also rained through much of the previous inning, but they played through that.)
Did the 30-minute delay affect Davis? Warmed up, ready to go, then he had to sit?
Whether that was the reason or not, he allowed a pair of homers, one to Paul Goldschmidt (his third of the day) and the other to J.D. Martinez, and the Cubs had a tough 10-8 loss to the Diamondbacks after fighting back from a 6-1 deficit.
This game did not start out well after the 90-minute delay forced a 2:50 p.m. CT start. Jose Quintana gave up four hits and a pair of homers in the first inning that scored four runs for the D-backs. Goldschmidt hit a three-run blast and Brandon Drury hit the bottom of the left-field video board, and I believe he’s the first visiting player to do that.
Quintana might have been tipping his pitches, because he came back and got a pair of easy groundouts in the second before the second delay. After the rain stopped he completed the second inning 1-2-3 and that’s when the Cubs began their comeback, thanks to Willson Contreras [VIDEO].
It stayed 4-1 until the fifth, when Goldschmidt parked one on Waveland, perhaps the longest homer I’ve seen since the 2015 bleacher reconstruction. That came with a man on base and made it 6-1. Of course you know who got that ball:
The throwback ball hit the wire frame attached to the pole and bounced into the front row in front of us, where someone wearing a Diamondbacks Randy Johnson jersey tossed it on the field.
Goldschmidt’s three-homer day gave him these career numbers vs. the Cubs:
Yikes. Pitch around him, please. Like, just about every time he comes up against Cubs pitching.
The Cubs made it 6-2 in the bottom of the inning when Javier Baez tripled and scored on a wild pitch. Quintana left the game having completed five innings and allowing six runs, a rough outing.
But the Cubs weren’t done scoring. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo singled to lead off the sixth and then it was Willson’s turn again [VIDEO].
So now it’s 6-5 and the crowd — about two-thirds of a full house stuck around this long — was getting into the idea of a Cubs comeback, which happened in the seventh after Brian Duensing and Pedro Strop did some fine relief work keeping the D-backs scoreless in the sixth and seventh.
Baez singled and one out later, Jon Jay walked. Bryant struck out, but Rizzo walked to load the bases.
Up stepped Contreras:
That made six RBI for Contreras, a career high, and the Cubs had a 7-6 lead.
Unfortunately, Carl Edwards Jr. couldn’t hold it. One of the reasons I don’t think CJ is ready to be a major-league closer is the walks. He issued two of them to start the eighth inning and then Joe summoned Justin Wilson.
Wilson got tagged for two sharp singles, by Drury and Jake Lamb, and the D-backs had the lead again 8-7. Wilson did get out of the inning, even after Baez dropped a ball for an error, thanks in part to a nice sliding catch by Ian Happ with the bases loaded [VIDEO].
So with the Cubs trailing 8-7 heading to the bottom of the eighth, another rally was needed and it came, with Jason Heyward and Baez walking with one out. Ben Zobrist singled to load the bases, and Jay beat a potential double-play relay to allow the tying run to score.
And that’s when it started raining again, and it’s where we started here in this recap. I certainly don’t fault the Cubs for how they handled the rain; they did about as best they could under the circumstances, with this game having to be played because the teams had no common off days for a makeup. It’s just unfortunate that it started to rain heavily right when Davis was beginning to pitch. I’m no expert, but I have to think that sitting down for half an hour after being ready to go might have affected Davis.
The Cubs did manage to get the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth on a pair of walks sandwiched around a Contreras strikeout, and no, I have no idea why he was trying to bunt with a runner on first and down by two runs. Swing for the fences, Willson! You just hit two home runs! Maybe you’ll hit another one!
Anyway, Happ and Heyward struck out to end one of the longest afternoons I’ve spent at Wrigley Field, a 1:20 p.m. game that ended just before sunset, a couple of minutes before 8 p.m.
Give the D-backs credit. They are a very good team. The Cubs will have their hands full again next week when they head to Arizona for another series against them.
And give Contreras credit for a great day (and had the Cubs won, the headline surely would have been his), despite the ninth-inning K. Here are some fun Willson facts:
Fewest career games to reach 30 HR#Cubs history— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) August 3, 2017
140 Kyle Schwarber
167 Kris Bryant
172 Willson Contreras (2 HR today)
Make it 10 HR in 23 starts in the 4-spot in the order for Willson Contreras this season #Cubs— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) August 3, 2017
Willson Contreras July 1-present (25 games):— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) August 4, 2017
.340/.415/.681, 16 R, 9 HR, 27 RBI #Cubs
Overly specific stat:— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) August 4, 2017
Willson Contreras is first #Cubs catcher with 6 RBI out of cleanup spot since Gabby Hartnett 6/4/1935
The Cubs lost one game off their N.L. Central lead because the Brewers defeated the Cardinals earlier in the day, so the Cubs lead by 1½ games heading into the weekend series against the East-leading Nationals. Fortunately, rain is (mostly) out of the forecast. Kyle Hendricks goes for the Cubs in the series opener Friday afternoon at 1:20 p.m. CT; Tanner Roark will go for the Nats.