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Cubs' win Tuesday was their first of its kind

Maybe you are old enough to remember the Cubs' 1961 season.

Even if you do, it's highly unlikely you remember a game the Cubs played at Wrigley Field against the Reds on July 28, 1961.

The Cubs had been 22-39 after losing both games of a doubleheader to the Dodgers at home on June 21. Those losses gave them their third losing streak of at least 5.

But beginning with a win the next day, the Cubs had gone 19-15, capped by back-to-back walk-off wins over the Cardinals.

Still, the Cubs languished in seventh place in the 8-team league, 18 games behind the first-place Reds (61-38), whom they would host in single games on Friday and Saturday, then a doubleheader on Sunday.

..........

HOMERS GALORE

In the series opener, the Reds left 2 runners on base in both of the first 2 innings. In the third, Dick Ellsworth issued a 1-out walk, then surrendered consecutive home runs to Frank Robinson and Wally Post.

Ernie Banks homered off Jim O'Toole with 2 out in the fourth, making the score 3-1.

He homered again with 1 out in the sixth, making it 3-2.

Robinson got that run back with a 2-out solo homer in the seventh off Dick Drott, in his fourth inning of relief.

...

O'Toole struck out George Altman to open the ninth, then hit Billy Williams.

Ron Santo was sent to the plate to pinch hit for Dick Bertell. He slammed a triple to left field that drove home Andre Rodgers, who was pinch running for Williams.

Santo's hit knocked out O'Toole. Jim Brosnan replaced him, walked pinch hitter Bob Will and was replaced himself by Bill Henry.

Henry slipped a called third strike past Ed Bouchee for the second out. Sammy Taylor, batting for the pitcher, fouled out to the catcher, and the Cubs lost, 4-3.

..........

UNPRECEDENTED VICTORY

Until Tuesday night, that was the only game the Cubs had played since 1901 in which they scored exactly 3 runs, with 2 coming on a pair of home runs and the third on an RBI triple!

And Tuesday, unlike 60 years earlier, the Cubs won he game, 3-1.

Frank Schwindel homered with 1 out in the first.

Matt Duffy led off the second with a single, was on second with 2 out and scored when Robinson Chirinos blasted a triple.

Ian Happ completed the scoring with a 2-out homer in the eighth that sailed 437 feet into the third deck in left field.

..........

3 RUNS, 2 HOMERS, TRIPLE

Tuesday's game was the Cubs' 18,826th of the Modern Era.

It was only their 22nd in which they hit 2 home runs, at least 1 triple and scored exactly 3 runs.

Just 7 of the 22 have come in the last 40 years, since a 7-3 loss at Philadelphia on April 19, 1981.

They had 3 such games between 1910 and 1932, then none until 1953. That was the first of 9 in a span of 11 seasons, including 2 in 1961, 30 days apart.

The most recent before Tuesday was a 5-3 loss to the Braves at home on June 26, 2019.

The Cubs have won 6 of the 21 games. The previous wins came in 1926, 1932, 1953, 1959 and 2003. They 1932 win was by 3-0. All the others were by 3-2.

...

In 13 of the 22 games, the batter who tripled scored the Cubs' lone run that was not on a homer.

Four of them trotted home when the next batter homered. Four more raced home on a sacrifice fly. The others tallied on a double, 2 singles and 2 groundouts.

Two of the batters who tripled were thrown out at home, one trying to steal and one on a fly ball.

..........

Several of the games are worthy of further mention.

...

OCT. 4, 1910

Lost at Cincinnati, 3-5

Heinie Zimmerman hit both home runs and the triple, the only Cub to do so in any of the 22 games.

Ring Lardner of the Chicago Tribune described Zimmerman's one-of-a-kind performance this way:

"In the first round, with two strikes called on him, he beat the Cincinnati record for long distance smashing with a homer that cleared the score board by seven feet or so.

"He didn't get another chance to hit until the third. Then he amused himself by pasting another homer about ten feet to the left of the first one. It also cleared the fence, which is right on even terms with the score board all the way around the field.

"In the fifth inning Zimmerman appeared again. He wasn't feeling quite as well this time, but his dyes were still glued on that wall. He gave the ball another punch that dented it, but [Art] Phelan was wise enough to be far out waiting for it. He hauled it in.

"This was a bitter disappointment to Heine and nothing but carelessness was responsible for it. He should have remembered that balls hit inside the ground can be caught, while others cannot.

"His last chance was in the eighth. He made sure then of the exact location of Phelan and Miller and walloped one between them for a triple. If it hadn't taken a nice hop off the fence it would have been a homer, too."

Zimmerman scored the game's final run moments later, on a groundout.

..........

JUNE 21, 1953

Won at home vs. Dodgers, 3-2

The Cubs' first batter of the game walked. The second, Dee Fondy, homered.

With the score 2-1 in the fourth, Eddie Miksis triple with 1 out. After the next batter struck out, bringing up pitcher Bubba Church, Miksis tried to steal home and was tagged out.

Miksis struck out leading off the seventh, but homered leading off the 10th to win the game.

.........

JUNE 4, 1959

Won at Philadelphia, 3-2

The Cubs got a 2-out single from Banks in the first inning, then made only 4 more hits.

The first 2 of the 4 were a solo homer by Sammy Taylor leading off the sixth that broke a scoreless deadlock, then an inside-the-park homer by Walt "Moose" Moryn to open the eighth that tied the score at 2.

Al Dark tripled with 1 out in the ninth. After an intentional walk to Banks, the next 2 batters lined out and flied out.

But George Altman tripled with 1 out in the 10th and scored on a fly by Taylor.

..........

AUG. 27, 1961

Lost at Pittsburgh, 3-7

Ron Santo brought the Cubs to within 2-1 with a 1-out homer in the fourth inning of Game 1 of a doubleheader.

He homered again in the eighth, immediately after Billy Williams tripled, but the Cubs still trailed, 6-3.

Santo joined Zimmerman and Banks, in the games described earlier, as the only Cubs to hit both homers in any of the 22 games in which the Cubs scored 3 runs on 2 homers and at least 1 triple.

..........

AUG. 5, 1962

Lost at Los Angeles, 3-4 (14)

In Game 1 of a doubleheader, a bases-loaded forceout at second gave the Cubs a run in the second. Banks homered leading off the fourth.

Altman's leadoff shot in the sixth increased the Cubs' lead to 3-1 and Banks followed with a triple. He stayed at third on a grounder, then was thrown out when he tried to score on a fly by Rodgers.

The Dodgers tied the game with runs in the sixth and seventh, then won it on a 1-out RBI single in the 14th.

.........

AUG. 9, 1963

Lost at New York, 3-7

Lou Brock tripled with 1 out in the third and was stranded.

In the fifth, he homered, as Rodgers had 2 batters earlier, to put the Cubs in front, 2-1.

The Mets regained the lead with 2 runs in the bottom of the inning.

Billy Williams led off the eighth with a triple and tied the score moments later when Ron Santo flied out.

In the bottom of the ninth, Cubs starter Paul Toth got a fly out, yielded a single and recorded a strikeout.

Then he surrendered a double. Lindy McDaniel replaced Toth, issued an intentional walk, then served up a walk-off grand slam to Jim Hickman.

Hickman's blast made a winner of Mets pitcher Roger Craig, who had lost 18 straight games, all starts, since earning a win on April 29.

..........

MAY 10, 2003

Won at home vs. Cardinals, 3-2

Moises Alou's 2-out solo homer in the sixth tied the score at 1.

Corey Patterson led off the seventh with a triple and Mark Grudzielanek followed with a go-ahead single.

The Cardinals made it 2-2 on a walk, steal and single in the ninth.

Then Alex Gonzalez belted a full-count pitch for a walk-off home run with 1 out in the 10th.

..........

5 STRAIGHT LOSSES

Until Tuesday night's win at Minnesota, the Cubs had lost their last 5 games in which they scored 3 runs and had 2 homers plus at least 1 triple. All 5 games were home:

July 1, 2005: 3-4 vs. Nationals

Aug. 18, 2006: 3-11 vs. Cardinals

June 28, 2011: 3-6 vs. Giants

Aug. 20, 2014: 3-8 vs. Giants

June 26, 2019: 3-5 vs. Braves

...

In the 2005 game, the Cubs hit 2 triples. The second scored on a double by the next batter.

In the next 3, all their runs came on the homers, as they had a solo and a 2-run. The batter who had tripled scored on a homer in 2014.

In 2019, Willson Contreras homered with 1 out in the fourth to make the score 5-1 and Kris Bryant homered with 1 out in the fifth to make it 5-2.

In the sixth, Contreras tripled with 1 out and scored on a groundout by Jason Heyward.

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