For the Chicago Cubs, Sunday ended a lot better than it began (though not before things got way too close near the end).
The Cubs entered Sunday’s game having lost 11 straight to the Brewers, and hadn’t won a game in Milwaukee since April.
And they headed into the eighth inning of this one trailing 2-1 and with just two hits in the game. But then things started improving, and quickly.
Willson Contreras led off the inning as a pinch hitter and had an epic at-bat leading to a 14-pitch walk. Matt Duffy doubled him in to tie the game [VIDEO].
Then Frank Schwindel — star of the month so far for the Cubs! — hit this RBI double to give the Cubs the lead [VIDEO].
Schwindel’s double gave him a nine-game hitting streak and four straight multi-hit games. He was 2-for-5 Sunday and finishes the past week with these numbers: .345/.367/.655 (10-for-29) with three doubles and two home runs. Probably not quite enough for another NL Player of the Week award, but still outstanding production. As a Cub he’s now hitting .363/.408/.673 (62-for-171) with 12 doubles, a triple and 13 home runs. This month: .391/.432/.738 (27-for-69) with three doubles and seven home runs. NL Player of the Month, perhaps?
Anyway, David Bote followed Frank the Tank’s double with a walk and then Patrick Wisdom hit a baseball out of sight [VIDEO].
That ball was crushed!
For Wisdom, his 27th home run of the season broke a tie he was holding with Kris Bryant — remember him? — for the Cubs franchise rookie record, and of course he could still extend that with 12 games to go. Wisdom’s 27 homers have been hit in 352 plate appearances, while Bryant’s took 650 (though, to be fair, KB didn’t hit a home run until his 92nd PA in 2015). Interestingly, Bryant’s first MLB home run was also hit in Milwaukee.
That terrific eighth-inning rally held up for a 6-4 win over the Brewers, ending a four-game losing streak and finishing up the road trip on a high note, though it got way too interesting in the bottom of the ninth.
Now let’s look back at the rest of this satisfying victory.
Keegan Thompson, fresh off the injured list, started and threw the first two innings without incident. David Ross figured that 40 pitches was enough for Thompson and replaced him with Adrian Sampson in the third. Both Cubs pitchers got into trouble early, but the Cubs turned three double plays over the first four innings to keep the game scoreless.
In the top of the fifth, the Cubs’ “other” Thompson, Trayce, gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead [VIDEO].
Oddly enough, despite “Thompson” being a fairly common name, before this year the Cubs had had just one player with that surname — Scot Thompson, who was an outfielder/first baseman for the team from 1978-83. (They also had Bobby Thomson in 1958 and 1959.)
Anyway, the Brewers got that run back and one more on RBI doubles by Kolten Wong and Eduardo Escobar off Sampson, and that’s where the score stayed until the Cubs’ eighth-inning five-run rally. Adam Morgan put a couple of runners on base in the seventh but worked his way out of the jam and as a result of the rally, posted his first win in a Cubs uniform.
Codi Heuer threw a scoreless eighth.
I wish I could say the same about Rowan Wick, but he got himself in trouble with two walks. Both runners advanced on defensive indifference and scored on a single by Christian Yelich to make it a two-run game. Another single and walk loaded the bases and David Ross had to call on Michael Rucker to relieve Wick. Rucker got Jace Peterson to fly to center to finish the game and post his first MLB save [VIDEO].
I have noticed this about Wick: After about 20 or so pitches in an outing he seems to run out of gas and everything gets up in the zone. The same thing happened to him Friday night. He’s got to work on that, in the meantime he probably shouldn’t ever go more than one inning.
The win thus avoided having the Cubs do something the franchise hadn’t done since 1901 — fail to win at least four games against a team they played at least 18 times in a season. In 1901 they went 3-17 against Philadelphia. The win was the Cubs’ fourth in 19 games vs. the Brewers this year. I’ll be glad to not see them until 2022, and also because Cubs/Brewers games went to ridiculous length this year. The teams played 17 nine-inning games this year, plus two seven-inning contests in a doubleheader August 10. The 17 nine-inning games averaged 3:25, way over the MLB average of 3:09.
The Cubs will certainly have an enjoyable bus ride back to Chicago and will have Monday off — lots of off days this month! Then they will take on the Minnesota Twins in their final two interleague games of 2021 Tuesday and Wednesday at Wrigley Field. Alec Mills will start Tuesday for the Cubs and Griffin Jax is the scheduled starter for the Twins. Game time Tuesday is 6:40 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be on Marquee Sports Network.