The Chicago Cubs did all of the following in Wednesday afternoon’s game against the San Diego Padres:
- A misplayed ball that should have been caught by Jason Heyward
- Nico Hoerner running into umpire Dan Iassogna and leaving the game with a minor injury
- Scott Effross being forced to get probably six outs in the sixth inning because of poor defensive choices
- Struck out 10 times
And despite all that, the Cubs won the game 7-5, taking the series from the Padres. How? They did get some good relief pitching when it was most needed and got some key hits with runners on, going 5-for-11 with RISP. It’s the first series win for the Cubs since the opening set of this season against the Brewers, both of those series victories coming against very good teams.
There was, obviously, also some good play by the Cubs in this game, or they wouldn’t have won. Let’s start at the beginning. Willson Contreras gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the top of the first [VIDEO].
Contreras is now 11-for-17 (.647) over his last five games with two home runs, six runs scored and no strikeouts. Keep that up and a NL Player of the Week award could come.
The aforementioned Heyward miscue put Jurickson Profar on third base with a triple in the bottom of the inning, and he scored on an Eric Hosmer single to tie the game.
You can’t see the actual collision in that video, but Nico eventually left the game in the fourth. Here’s the latest:
Nico Hoerner exited today's game with right ankle soreness. He will be further evaluated. #Cubs— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) May 11, 2022
This might make the rehab assignment Andrelton Simmons is now on at Triple-A Iowa more important.
A homer by Luke Voit, his first as a Padre, gave San Diego a 2-1 lead after two.
The Cubs then put together a four-run inning in the fourth that involved quite a bit of good play. Contreras walked, and then wound up advancing to second base on this play:
That’s a Javy Báez-esque swim move. Patrick Wisdom singled in Contreras to tie the game [VIDEO].
Alfonso Rivas walked, and one out later Frank Schwindel had one of the best Cubs at-bats of this season:
As happened Tuesday night, Frank the Tank missed a multi-run homer by a few feet. This one bounced off the wall for a two-run double. Then Heyward drove Schwindel in with this single [VIDEO].
So now it’s 5-2 Cubs and Keegan Thompson departed after four innings, having allowed two runs on five hits, with two walks. He threw 61 pitches, which is a season high. I’m still not convinced he should be starting. A relief appearance of 60 or so pitches after an “opener” might be better for Thompson. The preparation is different if you’re starting. I guess we’ll find out.
Chris Martin threw a scoreless fifth. Scott Effross would probably have thrown a scoreless sixth if not for some defensive incompetence. After Effross allowed a one-out single, another Padres single was on a ball that Ian Happ probably should have caught. Then Jonathan Villar fielded a slow-rolling grounder by Trent Grisham and inexplicably tried to retire Ha-Seong Kim, the lead runner, at second — he had no chance and Kim was safe. Villar should have gone for the easy out at first. Then the strikeout of Jorge Alfaro by Effross would have ended the inning. Instead, Jake Cronenworth batted and reached on catcher interference with the bases loaded, scoring a run to make it 5-3. That’s the second catcher interference in this series by Cronenworth, who’s making a habit of that (he had five last year). Here’s the play [VIDEO].
The run off Effross was thus unearned, but three guys who should have been retired in that inning weren’t, and it led to that Padres run.
The Cubs didn’t score in the top of the seventh, and credit where credit is due, Wil Myers stole a home run from Heyward [VIDEO].
The Padres scored a pair off Mychal Givens in the seventh to tie the game 5-5.
The Cubs took the lead again in the top of the eighth. Singles by Contreras and Wisdom, sandwiched around a walk by Ian Happ, loaded the bases with nobody out.
Rowan Wick threw a scoreless eighth, helped in part by this slick defensive play by Rafael Ortega [VIDEO].
Wick allowed a single in the ninth, but finished up a 33-pitch appearance for his second save of the year. Here’s the final out [VIDEO].
The Cubs have Thursday off. They’ll spend the day in Arizona and then open a three-game series against the Diamondbacks Friday evening at Chase Field. Drew Smyly will start for the Cubs and old friend Zach Davies will start for the D-Backs. Game time Friday is 8:40 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be on Apple TV+, the Cubs’ first game on the streaming service. I’ll have a complete guide on how to watch Friday’s game coming up here Friday morning.