FanPost

When the Cubs hit 6 home runs -- and lost

Yestrday, I told the tale of a 1930 game in which the Cubs staged the greatest comeback in their history, rallying from a 14-0 deficit before losing, 14-12.

In that game, the Cubs hit 6 home runs for only the second time by the Cubs, and sixth by any team, since 1901.

Through 2021, the Cubs have homered 6 times in 23 games and somehow managed to lose 5 of them.

All other MLB teams are 302-23 when hitting exactly 6 homers, a .929 winning percentage, compared to the Cubs' .782 in such games.

The Yankees have lost 4 games despite homering 6 times. The Braves, Giants, Orioles and Tigers have twice; 11 other teams, just once.

.........

PERFECT WITH 7 HOMERS

The Cubs won all 3 games in which they hit 7 home runs. They played those games in a span of less than 10 years, against the Mets on June 11, 1967, and against the Padres on Aug. 19, 1970 and May 17, 1977.

The 29 other teams are 78-5 when hitting 7 homers. All the losses were by American League teams: the Tigers, twice; and the Blue Jays, Twins and White Sox, once each.

The Tigers' first loss, in 1995, was to the White Sox. The White Sox's loss, in 2016, was to the Jays. The Jays' loss, on Aug. 12 of 2020, was to the Marlins. And the Twins' loss, on July 28 of this year, was to . . . the Tigers.

The Tigers' second loss, in 2004, was to the Red Sox.

...

The Cubs never have hit more than 7 home runs in any of their 18,855 games since 1901. Other teams have hit 10 once; 9, twice; and 8, 29 times. They have won all of those 31 games.

.........

18 HOMERS, 0 WINS

In the previous FanPost, I described in detail the 1930 game in which the Cubs hit 6 homers and lost.

One of the 4 other such games was their historic 23-22, 10-inning loss to the Phillies in 1979. That game has been documented many times.

But what about the Cubs' 3 remaining 6-homer setbacks? How did they happen?

..........

APRIL 16, 1955

Cardinals 12, Cubs 11

at St. Louis

The Cubs set a Major League record in this game that still stands: 3 infielders each hit at least 2 home runs.

There had been 14 earlier games in which 2 infielders homered 2 or more times, once by the Cubs. On May 16, 1951, first baseman Dee Fondy and third baseman Randy Jackson each hit 2 homers in a 14-4 rout of the Dodgers.

Fondy and Jackson also homered twice at Busch Stadium in 1955. So did shortstop Ernie Banks.

...

The game was only fourth of the season for the Cubs. In a bizarre bit of scheduling, they had won on April 11 at Cincinnati, beaten the Cardinals at home on 12th, then won again at Cincinnati on the 14th.

In the second win over the Reds, pitcher Hal Jeffcoat had broken a 2-2 tie with a 2-out solo homer in the top of the ninth, only to yield a similar homer in the bottom of the inning.

In the 10th, Jackson homered with 2 out and a man on second, then Banks homered, too, and the Cubs held on to win 6-4.

.........

3 IN A ROW

At St. Louis 2 days later, the Cardinals grabbed a quick 2-0 lead, loading the bases against Cubs starter Sam Jones with nobody out in the first, then scoring on a double play and a 2-out double.

The Cubs struck back in a hurry in the second against Tom Poholsky:

Jackson homered.

Banks homered.

Fondy homered.

With 2 out the third, Jackson launched another homer, making the score 4-2.

It was still 4-2 until the bottom of the fourth, when the Cardinals turned 2 walks, a single, a ground out and a fielder's choice into 3 runs, putting them back on top, 5-4.

They added a run in the sixth on a 2-out RBI single that knocked out Jones.

..........

4 RUNS, 0 HOMERS

The Cubs' seventh began with a single by pinch hitter Bob Speake off Brooks Lawrence, who had blanked the Cubs since replacing Poholsky in the fourth. Speake reached second on a 1-out walk by Gene Baker, then came home on a single by Frank Baumholtz: 5-6.

Hank Sauer singled, scoring Baker: 6-6.

Jackson greeted new reliever Frank Smith with a double, scoring Baumholtz: 7-6.

Bobby Tiefenauer, succeeding Smith, got Banks to hit a foul fly, on which Sauer came home: 8-6.

Fondy singled, scoring Jackson: 9-6.

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DEBUT TO FORGET

John Andre started the bottom of the seventh on the mound for the Cubs. It was the first big league game for the 32-year-old right hander. He faced only 2 batters: a walk, a wild pitch and a second walk.

Jeffcoat took over and surrendered a run-scoring double: 9-7.

A ground out brought home another run: 9-8.

A single tied the score: 9-9.

That was the end of the day for Jeffcoat. Howie Pollett replaced him and got the final 2 outs.

...

Each team went down in order in the eighth. The Cubs did it again in the ninth. The Cardinals got a 1-out single and a 2-out steal but stranded the runner, sending the game into extra innings.

The Cubs wasted a 2-out triple in the 10th. The Cards left 2 on in the 11th.

Then the scoring frenzy began again.

..........

2 IN THE 12TH

Banks led off the 12th with his second homer.

Moments later, Fondy hit his second: 11-9.

Bubba Church had pitched 2 scoreless innings already. After a leadoff walk, he was within 1 out of a third, completing a Cubs victory, when Wally Moon slugged a game-tying home run: 11-11.

He gave up a single to the next batter, then handed the ball to Vicente Amor, the Cubs' seventh pitcher. He got Stan Musial to pop up to the catcher, and it was on to the 13th.

...

The Cubs went 1-2-3. The Cards got a leadoff double, followed by an intentional walk, then 3 outs.

The 3 Cubs who had homered twice were due up to start the 14th. Jackson singled and dove back to third when Banks popped up a bunt. On strike 3 to Fondy, Jackson tried to steal and was thrown out.

..........

FRENCH FARCE

Here is how the St. Louis Post-Dispatch described what happened next:

"The ball-park lights had been on for more than 25 minutes and it was past 6 o'clock when Bill Sarni, first up in the home half of the fourteenth, reached a '3-2' count against rangy rookie righthander Vince Amor . . .

" 'Trois et deux,' Publicity Director Jim Toomey of the Cardinals sang out in prophetic penny-postcard French.

"When Sarni lifted a routine fly to short left field, Monsieur Banks ranged out and Sauer ambled in, either willing and both able to make an easy catch. . . .

" 'Apres vous, mon cheri, Alphonse,' said Monsieur Banks politely, stepping aside.

" 'Mais non, Gaston,' protested Monsieur Sauer with equal courtesy, stepping back and -- oops! -- Sarni's big out fell safely between them for a little double."

Moon then singled and Sarni raced home to end the game, after 4 hours, 39 minutes.

..........

10 FOR 20

The final 2 hits raised the Cardinals' total to 17, 1 more than the Cubs'. Of their 16, 4 were by Jackson and 3 each by Banks and Fondy. The trio were a combined 10 for 20, with 7 runs scored and 9 driven in.

Each had 1 of the Cubs' 10 strikeouts. Banks had 1 of their 4 walks.

The Cards struck out 10 times, too, but walked 9. They left 13 on base; the Cubs, 8.

...

Before that day at St. Louis, there had been only 2 games in which 3 players on the same team had homered at least twice. Both times, 2 of the three had been infielders.

There have been 17 games since that featured a trio of teammates with multiple homers. Only 1 included a pair of infielders: first baseman Mo Vaughn and third baseman Troy Glaus of the Angels, at Tampa Bay on April 21, 2000.

Right fielder Tim Salmon also homered twice that day. Each hit his third homer in the top of the ninth, with the bases empty, to earn the Angels a 9-6 victory.

..........

MAY 29, 1962

Braves 11, Cubs 9

at Chicago

At 15-30, the Cubs were well on their way to a team-record 103 losses when they hosted Milwaukee in front of just 3,468 fans on a Tuesday afternoon.

Midway through the third inning, the Cubs were behind, 9-0.

In the bottom half, Andre Rodgers was safe on an error. After a strikeout, Lou Brock singled and rookie Ken Hubbs doubled home both runners: 2-9.

A groundout sent Hubbs to third, then he strolled home on a home run by Banks: 4-9.

...

The score was 10-4 as the Cubs came to bat in the fifth. Hubbs struck out. Billy Williams and Banks hit back-to-back home runs: 6-10.

The Braves added a run in the sixth: 11-6.

Banks smashed his third homer in a row with 1 out and nobody on in the seventh: 7-11.

Bob Will joined the home run club with a leadoff shot in the eighth: 8-11.

.........

KNOCK ON NASA

Williams struck out to start the Cubs' ninth.

Banks, 4 for 4 so far, grounded out.

George Altman kept hope alive by hitting the team's 6th homer. It knocked out veteran Lou Burdette, who had pitched 4.1 innings of relief.

Bob Shaw came in and got Ron Santo to fly out, ending the game.

...

"Wrigley Field yesterday was the scene of the greatest waste of power since the last time a space shot fizzled at Cape Kennedy," Richard Dozer wrote in the Chicago Tribune.

..........

AUG. 17, 2017

Reds 13, Cubs 10

at Chicago

The Cubs never led, but thanks to their 6 homers, they did pull even after giving up 9 runs in the top of the second.

Seven of the runs came after 2 were out, the last of an RBI double by the second batter to face Mike Montgomery, who had replaced Jon Lester.

With 2 out in the bottom half, Ian Happ homered: 1-9.

Kris Bryant led off the fourth with a homer: 2-9.

Anthony Rizzo doubled, Ben Zobrist lined out Alex Avila homered: 4-9.

Happ homered: 5-9.

Javier Baez homered. With 4 homers in a span of 6 batters, the Cubs trailed only 6-9.

...

Montgomery pitched a 1-2-3 fifth, then the Cubs' barrage continued, as Kyle Schwarber homered: 7-9.

Bryant was hit by a pitch and raced home on a double by Rizzo: 8-9.

Rizzo advanced to third as Zobrist grounded out, then Avila doubled him in: 9-9.

.........

'HOW COULD THEY POSSIBLY LOSE?'

"Visions of the Cubs' legendary 16-15 win over the Reds in 1977 danced in the heads of baby boomers in the crowd of 38,675," said Paul Sullivan in the Tribune, "and after a comeback like that, how could they possibly lose?

"They somehow found a way, as the bullpen imploded again and the offense ran out of gas with only three hits after the fifth."

...

The Cubs put 2 runners on base with 1 out in the sixth, but Bryant hit into a double play.

Justin Grimm then took over from Suarez in the seventh. He walked the first batter, struck out the second, then served up a tie-breaking home run: 9-11.

In the bottom half, a triple by Zobrist, a walk and a fly out by Happ brought the Cubs to within a run, 10-11.

But the Reds scored again in the eighth, on 2 walks, a fly and a grounder, then once more in the ninth, on 2 walks and a 2-out single.

Rizzo singled with 1 out in the Cubs' ninth for his third hit. He moved up on a wild pitch, before Zobrist and Avila went down swinging to seal the Cubs' defeat.

..........

LATER 6-HOMER GAMES

Just 9 days later, on Aug. 26, the Cubs hit 6 home runs again, in a 17-2 rout of the Phillies.

They have done it 3 more times since then, against the Nationals in 2019; the Reds, in 2020; and the Braves, in 2021.

In the 2020 game, at Cincinnati, the trio of Happ, Schwarber and Jason Heyward became the first set of outfielders all to hit multiple homers in the same game.

And, of course, the Cubs won the game, as they had in 2019 and would in 2021.

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