In Part 3 of this series, we looked at memorable walkoff wins since 1916 that the Cubs have had against the eight NL expansion-era teams (the Brewers, of course, came to the NL when the AL expanded in 1998). Today, in the conclusion of this four-part series, we’ll check out the most memorable Cubs walkoff wins against American League teams:
I wrote this regarding American League teams in Part 1 of this series:
The Cubs have never had a walkoff win against the Yankees, Tigers, Red Sox, Orioles or Angels. Presuming the 2021 schedule is played as currently laid out, the Cubs won’t have a chance to change that list this year. The only team they are scheduled to play among those five is the Tigers, and the series is in Detroit.
As has been pointed out to me by several readers, the Cubs actually do have a walkoff win against the Tigers — Game 6 of the 1945 World Series, won by the Cubs 8-7 in 12 innings. This series, though, is limited to regular-season games.
Indians: August 24, 2015
Jon Lester was one out away from a five-hit complete-game shutout when Carlos Santana singled in the tying run in the top of the ninth.
Zach McAllister struck out the first two batters in the bottom of the inning when Kris Bryant made sure there weren’t extras [VIDEO].
That’s the famous “Strop Strut,” made by Pedro Strop as he followed KB down the third-base line.
Honorable mention to September 15, 2020, when the Cubs blew a two-run lead in the top of the ninth (two-run homer by Francisco Lindor), but won 6-5 on a walkoff hit by pitch by Cameron Maybin.
White Sox: July 4, 2004
The Cubs have walked off the Sox a couple of times by home runs, but I chose this one, an ESPN Sunday Night Baseball broadcast, because (up to that time) one of the loudest crowds I’d ever heard at Wrigley Field cheered through an entire Todd Walker at-bat with the bases loaded and the score tied in the bottom of the ninth:
Walker had a nine-pitch at-bat and started down 0-2, a terrific at-bat that won the game, and as noted on the clip, completed a three-game sweep of the Sox.
Royals: September 28, 2015
As noted in the previous article:
Denorfia’s home run was the first pinch-hit homer to win an extra-inning scoreless game in major-league history.
It stil is.
Twins: July 16, 1999
The Cubs blew leads of 7-6 and 8-7, the latter entering the ninth inning. Three Twins who would later be Cubs — Ron Coomer, Jacque Jones and Todd Walker — drove in runs to give the Twins a 10-8 lead.
The Cubs came back, though. Jeff Blauser led off the bottom of the ninth with a home run, making it 10-9. Curtis Goodwin and Mark Grace singled and a Sammy Sosa double tied the game and put runners on second and third. Jose Hernandez was walked intentionally to load the bases, and Henry Rodriguez came through with a game-winning single.
Athletics: June 19, 2004
The Cubs trailed 3-2 going to the bottom of the ninth. A pair of singles by pinch-hitters Todd Hollandsworth and Todd Walker put the tying and winning runs on base and Michael Barrett doubled them both in for the win:
Rays: June 3, 2003
This was when the Tampa Bay team was still known as “Devil Rays.”
The Cubs trailed 2-0 going to the bottom of the sixth. They pushed across single runs in the sixth and eighth to tie it.
In the bottom of the ninth, Troy O’Leary and Moises Alou singled and Hee Seop Choi sacrificed them both up a base. (You’d never see a team do that now, I don’t think.)
Ramon Martinez was the next hitter. Tampa Bay reliever Al Levine (a Chicago native!) ran the count to 2-0 on Martinez. Cubs TV analyst Steve Stone predicts what happens next:
The rest of the teams in this list have been walked off by the Cubs just once each. A couple of these were particularly memorable.
Mariners: July 31, 2016
You know this one well. It’s the Brian Matusz Game. Travis Wood made a great catch in left field. The Cubs came from a 6-0 deficit (and 6-3 in the bottom of the ninth) to tie the game and win in the 12th on Jon Lester’s walkoff bunt. Here’s the game recap I wrote at the time, and here’s Jon’s bunt:
Rangers: June 18, 2002
This is another one previously written up in the walkoff home run series.
The Cubs led 3-1 going into the eighth, but the Rangers scored a pair in that inning to tie the game.
John Rocker was the Rangers pitcher in the ninth. He ran a 2-0 count on Alex Gonzalez, who hit a walkoff homer — the second of three walkoff homers he would hit that year (he had five overall as a Cub).
Rocker was just about done at that point. He pitched in just 10 more MLB games after this one.
Blue Jays: August 20, 2017
You probably remember this one pretty well. The Cubs blew a 3-0 lead and one of the Toronto runs was a homer by former Cub Miguel Montero, as it turned out, his last big-league home run.
The Cubs gave up a pair in the top of the 10th. With one out in the bottom of the 10th, Ben Zobrist singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. Anthony Rizzo grounded out, with Zobrist taking third. Javier Baez then also struck out, apparently ending the game, but the pitch got away from another former Cub, Jays catcher Raffy Lopez, allowing Javy to reach base. Javy stole second and Jason Heyward was intentionally walked.
That brought up Alex Avila:
That seems a good way to end this series. Thanks for reading!