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Cubs, Rockies split long, wet doubleheader

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The Cubs got late-inning three-run homers in both games. One was enough for a win, the other, not.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

I’m not sure where to even start writing about 17 long, damp innings of baseball at Wrigley Field Tuesday.

So, why not here:

So there you go: The 2021 Cubs are in the record books!

Of course, the 2021 Cubs are already in those books for things we aren’t going to care to remember after this year’s bizarre journey ends, but that one certainly qualifies as “fun fact.”

Here’s another: This was the seventh game in Cubs history that they lost by a 13-10 score. Here are the other six, the last one just two years ago:

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt
1 2019-04-05 CHC MIL L 10-13
2 2017-08-17 CHC CIN L 10-13
3 2000-09-08 CHC HOU L 10-13
4 1978-04-15 CHC PIT L 10-13
5 1976-08-11 CHC CIN L 10-13
6 1917-07-04 (2) CHC CIN L 10-13
Provided by Stathead.com: View Stathead Tool Used
Generated 8/26/2021.

I’m going to start with a few more facts and impressions of the 13-10 second-game defeat because... well, it certainly had some.

Justin Steele put the Cubs down 2-0 after just six pitches in the first inning on a walk and a two-run homer.

But the Cubs got those runs back, and more, in a five-run second. With runners on second and third, Robinson Chirinos grounded to second... and the Rockies decided not to play defense [VIDEO].

Sergio Alcantara followed with an RBI single [VIDEO].

After Steele attempted to sacrifice and failed (instead, hitting into a fielder’s choice), Rafael Ortega singled in another run [VIDEO].

One more RBI single, by Frank Schwindel [VIDEO].

The Cubs completed the five-run inning on a double steal [VIDEO].

Steele was taken out with two runners on and two out in the fourth. I could have gone either way on that decision. He had thrown 73 pitches, but it’s a seven-inning game (or was supposed to be!). Why not let him face one more batter? The hitter was supposed to be Joshua Fuentes, who was the Rockies’ 27th man for the second game. Nope nope nope, said David Ross, can’t let a lefty face a RH pinch-hitter, so Trevor Megill was summoned. Now Charlie Blackmon was sent up to bat for Fuentes.

Which matchup would YOU rather have had?

Megill proved Ross’ decision wrong by hitting Blackmon to load the bases and then serve up a grand slam to Connor Joe, making it 6-5 Rockies.

The Rox scored two more off Michael Rucker and Rex Brothers in the sixth and there it stayed until the Cubs put a pair of runners on with one out in the seventh. By this time the bleachers and lower bowl had been cleared due to lightning in the area, and so those seats were empty when Ian Happ tied things up [VIDEO].

Patrick Wisdom followed that with a walk, putting the winning run on base with one out, but David Bote hit into a double play. It might seem as if Bote has done that a lot this year, but that’s “only” 10, which puts him... tied for 48th in MLB.

Back and forth this game went in “extras,” and I put that in quotes because the eighth and ninth innings aren’t usually “extra.” Both teams scored in the eighth, neither in the ninth, and then the Rockies put four on the board off Jake Jewell, the Cubs’ 27th man, in the 10th, including a home run by Ryan McMahon into the LF basket.

Incidentally, twice in extras the Cubs had the pitcher’s spot come up for the “Manfred man,” the placed runner. If that happens the manager can put the runner in the previous batting order spot on second base, and that’s what David Ross did. Earlier this year White Sox manager Tony La Russa failed to do that — claimed he didn’t know about the rule! — and it probably cost him a game.

So that’s the summary of a four-hour, 18-minute wet monstrosity of a baseball game. And after it ended, what we learned: Jake Jewell probably isn’t on this team in 2022.

In the first game, Zach Davies had a Zach Davies start, by which I mean he didn’t pitch all that badly, but the results were meh. A solo homer and RBI single put the Rockies up 2-1 after three, despite this Bote home run [VIDEO].

Austin Romine tied the game with a solo shot in the fifth [VIDEO].

Codi Heuer — who’s been really good since coming to the Cubs in the Craig Kimbrel trade — finished the fifth and threw a quick 1-2-3 sixth, recording four outs on only nine pitches.

Meanwhile, the Cubs had taken the lead in the bottom of the fifth. With two out, Frank Schwindel tripled — yes, tripled, his first MLB triple! — and Matt Duffy walked.

Now, what would you do here if you were Bud Black? Patrick Wisdom is the next due hitter. Austin Gomber, a lefthanded starter, has thrown 83 pitches. It’s hot and sticky outdoors, and Wisdom hits lefties very well.

Further, Black has a righthanded reliever, Tyler Kinley, ready to go.

I’d have brought in Kinley. Black stuck with Gomber and Wisdom hit a baseball a very, very long way [VIDEO].

That ball? Crushed!

The ball hit the building at 1032 W. Waveland on one bounce and here’s who got it:

Adam Morgan threw the ninth for his first Cubs save (and second career MLB save). Morgan, after a couple of rough outings when he first came to the Cubs, has been really good and could have a role in the 2022 Cubs bullpen. Here’s an article by Meghan Montemurro in the Tribune that describes Morgan’s journey back from arm trouble and surgery last offseason.

So the Cubs split a doubleheader, which isn’t a terrible result, and win a series at home for the first time since they took two of three from the Diamondbacks almost a month ago, July 23-25.

There’s one more highlight I want to show you from the second game [VIDEO].

That, my friends, is the first runner Robinson Chirinos threw out trying to steal a base since July 31, 2020. He was 0-for-5 after being traded to the Mets from the Rangers last year and 0-for-15 this year until he threw out Garrett Hampson on that play in Wednesday’s second game.

The Cubs have Thursday off, likely welcome after all the rain this week stretched out their series with Colorado deep into Wednesday evening. They’ll begin a series with the White Sox on the South Side Friday evening. Keegan Thompson will start for the Cubs and Dallas Keuchel is the scheduled starter for the Sox. Game time Friday is 7:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network. The game will also be on NBC Sports Chicago with the Sox announcers and in addition, picked up by MLB Network for national broadcast (outside the Cubs/White Sox market territory).