Albert Almora Jr. singled in Kris Bryant with the winning run in the 10th inning Tuesday night, after Bryant had led off the frame with a triple, to give the Cubs a 2-1 win and a split of their split doubleheader with the Dodgers.
Those are “just the facts.” Here’s how this game got down to that extra-inning decision.
Mike Montgomery again had an excellent outing, as he’s done every time out since he joined the starting rotation May 28. Just how excellent?
#Cubs starters with 5+ innings and 1 or fewer runs allowed in first 5 starts of season (1908-present)— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 20, 2018
Mike Montgomery, 2018
That’s a lot of history and some pretty good pitchers that Montgomery has exceeded. He had one high-wire-act inning, the second, in which he walked the first two hitters and a single by Logan Forsythe loaded the bases. But MiMo struck out the next two and got Chris Taylor to fly to left to end that threat.
The Cubs, meanwhile, couldn’t do much with Rich Hill, who had been on the disabled list with blister issues and who was activated for this game. They, too, loaded the bases in the second, also on a pair of walks and a single, but Montgomery struck out to end that inning.
After that Hill retired 11 straight Cubs until Javier Baez laid down an excellent bunt in the sixth. By that time the Dodgers had scraped out a run on a walk, a stolen base and a single by Austin Barnes.
Montgomery was replaced by Anthony Bass in the seventh. Bass allowed a leadoff single, and then Anthony Rizzo showed some glove [VIDEO].
Rizzo made a great snag of Enrique Hernandez’ line drive and doubled Chris Taylor off first base. Bass struck out Matt Kemp to end the inning and it remained 1-0.
Kyle Schwarber’s 13th home run of the year landed just below the right-field video board and tied the game 1-1.
The Cubs bullpen continued to shine. Randy Rosario threw a scoreless eighth, helped out by a double play. Baez bobbled a grounder [VIDEO] but recovered to flip to Addison Russell, whose relay beat Yasiel Puig to complete the DP.
Almora doubled with two out in the bottom of the eighth, and after Rizzo was intentionally passed, Willson Contreras struck out to end the inning.
Steve Cishek also allowed a double and an IBB in the top of the ninth, but escaped without allowing a run. The Cubs had the potential winning run on base in the bottom of the inning when Russell led off with a single, but the next three Cubs went down in order.
With some of the pen overtaxed due to the first game, it was up to the Iowa Shuttle guys to keep the game tied. Justin Hancock, the Cubs’ 26th man for the second game, issued a pair of walks sandwiched around a couple of outs and a single to load the bases for the Dodgers. That brought Joe Maddon out to summon Rob Zastryzny to face Yasmani Grandal. The switch-hitting Grandal came into the game hitting 30 points lower vs. LHP than RHP, and Joe’s decision turned out to be correct when Rob Z. got Grandal to fly to right to end the inning.
Bryant, who’s been in a terrible slump and who had been 0-for-4 with two K’s entering extras, slashed a 1-2 pitch down the right-field line [VIDEO] leading off the bottom of the 10th.
The Dodgers walked Baez and I was a bit surprised they didn’t walk Almora too to load the bases, though that would have had Brock Stewart (the Dodgers’ 26th man; not often do you see both of those guys throw in a doubleheader game) face Rizzo, and modern managers generally simply will not allow that platoon disadvantage.
It didn’t matter when Almora sliced his single to right that won it.
Credit to the Cubs pen, who combined for four scoreless innings, allowing four hits and three walks, striking out four, for keeping this one close, and other than Cishek, that’s a crew of all Iowa Shuttle guys. Kudos too to Almora, who came up in the first game after an intentional walk and couldn’t come through, for his game-winner after an IBB.
Yes, the Cubs could have and probably should have swept the doubleheader, but give the Dodgers credit. They are a good team and it’s entirely possible the Cubs and Dodgers could have another October matchup this year. Give the Cubs credit for coming back after a very tough loss in the opener with some great pitching and timely hitting to gain a split on the day.
Incidentally, this was just the second walkoff win for the Cubs this year, the other being the Jason Heyward grand slam that beat the Phillies a couple of weeks ago. It was the Cubs’ eighth extra-inning game of the season, but the first at Wrigley. The win improved the Cubs’ mark in extras this year to 4-4, and kept the Cubs half a game behind the Brewers in the N.L. Central, as Milwaukee defeated the Pirates Tuesday night.
Most of the nearly full house of 40,409 stayed to the end of the game. The Cubs did an efficient job of getting everyone out of the ballpark after the day game, which ended at about 3:50, and cleaning up in time to open up at 5:30 for the night game. Dire forecasts of rain and storms did not materialize into reality, as the only rain that fell all day or night turned out to be just a few sprinkles in the late innings of the night game, not nearly enough to stop play.
The Cubs go for the series win in the last game of this brief homestand in an afternoon affair at 1:20 p.m. CT. Jon Lester takes the mound for the Cubs and Ross Stripling will go for the Dodgers. TV coverage Wednesday afternoon is via WGN.