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Cubs 4-inning saves: Mike Montgomery, May 25, 2017

It was the longest — but not the most important — save of MiMo’s career.

Mike Montgomery after his four-inning save May 25, 2017
Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Mike Montgomery always wanted to be a starter.

The Cubs did give him some chances to do that, though mostly he was a swingman, going back and forth from bullpen to rotation.

This particular game wound up with Montgomery in position to post a four-inning save because Eddie Butler was the starting pitcher and it appeared Joe Maddon had the idea to piggyback Butler and Montgomery even before the game started.

The Cubs had taken a 2-1 lead heading to the sixth on solo homers by Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward off our old friend Jeff Samardzija. Montgomery wound up with one of the better outings of his career: four innings, one hit and one walk allowed, no runs. Another homer off Shark in the sixth by Ben Zobrist and a pair of runs in the eighth off reliever Josh Osich finished the scoring in a 5-1 Cubs win. The victory put the Cubs in first place in the NL Central. Also of note (and covered previously in this series!):

Osich wound up pitching for the Cubs briefly in 2020 and another former Cub, Justin Ruggiano, also played in this game. Here’s the final out of the game, recorded by Montgomery [VIDEO].

Here’s the entire game:

Montgomery did wind up in the Cubs rotation later in 2017 due to some injuries, and did a good job making 19 starts for the team in 2018. After not making the 2019 rotation, MiMo made 20 not-so-great relief appearances that year before being traded to the Royals for Martin Maldonado. That deal could eventually pay some dividends even though Maldonado did nothing for the Cubs. Maldonado was traded to the Astros for Tony Kemp, and the Cubs swapped Kemp to the A’s after the 2019 season for Alfonso Rivas, who had a successful MLB debut for the Cubs in late 2021.

Montgomery was with the Mets in spring training 2021 and then signed with the Yankees, though he never pitched for either New York team in a major league regular season game. He wound up pitching for the Samsung Lions in KBO, for whom he made 11 not-so-great starts (5.37 ERA) before his Korean career ended with this ugly incident:

That’s really a shame, because all of us will forever remember Montgomery’s first MLB save: