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Cubs 3, Indians 2: Javier Baez walks it off

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... and the Cubs sweep the Indians and record their fourth straight win.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Despite the fact that the Cubs swept the two-game series from the Indians (and also the four-game season series), I think I’m glad they won’t face the Tribe again.

Weird things happened in this series, from baserunning gaffes to multiple hit-by-pitches to a drone delay... yes, if you missed the game, it was delayed by a drone briefly flying over Wrigley Field. More on that later.

Nevertheless, the Cubs escaped with a 3-2, 10-inning win, their fourth victory in a row, thanks to Javier Baez’ walkoff single. Maybe, just maybe, Javy’s finally getting untracked. His last nine games: .303/.324/.424 (10-for-33) with a double, a triple and a home run, as well as some stellar defense and some patented Javy baserunning. The Cubs could definitely use that lift.

The Indians took the early lead on Jon Lester. Jon was a bit shaky in the first inning, allowing a walk, a sac bunt and a single that put runners on first and third. He wild-pitched in a run.

But the Cubs didn’t wait too long to tie the game. In the second, Kyle Schwarber led off with a walk and Baez singled him to third and... oh, no, Javy, please don’t try to take second base... he was thrown out.

Jason Heyward blooped a single to center to make it a 1-1 game [VIDEO].

Lester settled down after the first inning, helped out in part by this great catch by Cameron Maybin [VIDEO].

And this slick double play to end the fourth turned by Javy [VIDEO].

The Cubs took the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Willson Contreras was hit again. He leads the major leagues with 11 HBP. Javy then grounded into a force play, but the relay throw was wild and Baez wound up on third. After a walk to Jason Heyward, Maybin made it 2-1 Cubs [VIDEO].

Maybin was given a hit on that play, but Heyward’s hustle beating the throw to second was the key. Maybin’s been a real good under-the-radar pickup for the Cubs, playing solid defense, running the bases well and hitting .300/.323/.433 (9-for-30) as a Cub with two doubles, a triple, a stolen base, and of course the walkoff HBP Tuesday.

Lester served up a home-run ball to Oscar Mercado in the fifth that tied the game 2-2. Overall Lester’s night was a good one, though he was lifted after five innings and just 62 pitches. He was reflective after the game:

Six years. Wow. It doesn’t seem that long, does it? Lester could possibly have one more Wrigley start this year, in the wild-card series.

Something else happened in the fifth inning at Wrigley:

Umpires hastily cleared the field during a game between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night when a small drone flew into Wrigley Field over the bleachers and landed on the grass in deep left center.

As Willson Contreras came to bat with two outs in the bottom of the fifth and the game tied at 2, the device was spotted over the left-center stands. Before the drone landed, umpires rushed players into the dugouts.

The blinking drone took off, hovered at about 100 feet, then pulled away and vanished past the vintage center-field scoreboard.

Seriously — don’t do this. It’s not only dangerous, it’s illegal:

According to the Federal Aviation Administration’s guide to temporary flight restrictions, last updated in 2010, it is illegal to fly a drone near a stadium before, during, or immediately after a game. Sorry, aerial videographers.

The rules state that stadiums with capacities of more than 30,000 become no-fly zones for unmanned aircraft starting an hour before games. The no-fly zones extend three nautical miles (about 3.5 miles) from the stadium center and 3,000 feet above ground level. (Most drones never break 400 feet.) The restrictions last until one hour after the game ends.

The game was delayed about seven minutes before the drone left the area. Contreras completed his at-bat (and the inning) by grounding out, but not before finding some humor in the drone delay:

No one else scored through the regulation nine innings, though both teams had chances. Ryan Tepera picked Delino DeShields Jr. off first base after walking him; the Cubs put a runner in scoring position in the seventh on a Nico Hoerner double, and couldn’t score after loading the bases with two out.

The Cubs thus came to bat in the bottom of the ninth with a chance to walk it off, but went out 1-2-3 and so the game went to placed-runner extras. Jason Adam walked the first Indians hitter he faced in the 10th, so now it’s runners on first and second with nobody out. But Adam recovered, getting a force at third on a bunt attempt (props to Kris Bryant for snagging Adam’s not-so-great throw), a fly to center and then striking out Francisco Lindor to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 10th, Ian Happ was the placed runner. KB singled him to third and after Indians reliever Phil Maton ran a 2-0 count on Anthony Rizzo, they gave him a Manfred. Bases loaded, nobody out! What could possibly...

Lots, of course. Contreras and Schwarber struck out.

Up stepped Javy! [VIDEO]

That was a real nice piece of hitting, on an 0-2 pitch right at the outside edge of the zone. It was the Cubs’ second straight walkoff win, and the third in the last four games in which they scored the winning run in the ninth inning or later. Props, too, to the Cubs bullpen: They threw five shutout innings, allowing one hit and three walks with seven strikeouts.

The Reds completed a four-game sweep of the Pirates (hopefully the Cubs do the same next week!) and in so doing moved into second place by percentage points over the Cardinals, who split a doubleheader in Milwaukee. The Reds and Cardinals are virtually tied for second, 5½ games behind, and the Brewers trail by 6½. The Cubs, at present, are the only NL Central team with a winning record. Your magic number update:

The Cubs also maintained the No. 2 overall seed in the NL playoffs. They’re 30-20 and the Braves, the current No. 3 seed, are 29-21.

The Reds and Brewers have Thursday off; the Cardinals will travel to Pittsburgh for a five-game series vs. the Pirates, which includes a doubleheader Friday.

The Cubs also will enjoy an off day Thursday, their final regular-season off day of 2020, before beginning a three-game set with the Twins at Wrigley Friday evening. The Twins are spending the entire week in Chicago, wrapping up a four-game set at the White Sox Thursday afternoon.

Friday’s probable starters are Kyle Hendricks for the Cubs and our old buddy Rich Hill for the Twins. Game time Friday is 7:15 p.m. CT and TV coverage will again be via Marquee Sports Network.