After last summer’s selloff, the Cubs didn’t win many games. But Patrick Wisdom, who set a Cubs rookie record for home runs, and Frank Schwindel, who won a couple of Player of the Week awards, at least gave us some entertaining baseball.
Sunday afternoon, Wisdom and Schwindel provided key hits and another ninth-inning rally, and the Cubs took their series in Arizona with a 3-2 victory.
Let’s start at the end. The game’s tied 2-2 heading to the ninth. Wisdom, who had homered earlier, led off the inning with a double.
Schwindel followed, looked pretty bad on a couple of pitches, then sent an excuse-me RBI single to right [VIDEO].
That’s all the Cubs got in the ninth, and Scott Effross, who had thrown a scoreless eighth, allowed a leadoff single in the ninth and was replaced by Rowan Wick.
Wick gave up another single, but induced Daulton Varsho to pop up and then got pinch-hitter David Peralta to hit into a game-ending double play [VIDEO].
Now let’s rewind to the beginning of this win.
The Cubs opened the scoring in this game early — as in the second pitch of the game to Rafael Ortega [VIDEO].
That was Ortega’s first home run of 2022 and it was a great way for him to celebrate his 31st birthday. And that ball was crushed!
Just a short time later, Seiya Suzuki hit a ball almost that far — for a double:
At least he got a hit out of that, unlike Frank Schwindel’s recent 400-plus foot outs.
Justin Steele got into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the first, serving up a leadoff triple. But the next two hitters were easy outs and Suzuki put the cap on a scoreless first with this terrific catch [VIDEO].
The Cubs made it 2-0 in the second inning on another solo homer, this one by Patrick Wisdom [VIDEO].
That one also went a long way:
The D-Backs put two on the board and tied the game in the fourth. The second run scored on this error by Ildemaro Vargas [VIDEO].
Once again, this points up the need for good infield defense. I just can’t say it enough.
Apart from that inning, though, Steele had what might have been his best outing of the year. It was his longest, at six innings, and set a career high in strikeouts with 10. Fun facts about all those K’s:
Justin Steele has recorded the first double-digit strikeout showing of his career. He's the first Cubs starter with 10+ since Kyle Hendricks on Sept. 18, 2020.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) May 15, 2022
Justin Steele: first 10-K game by a #Cubs pitcher *drafted by the Cubs* since Jeff Samardzija May 26, 2014 - the year Steele was drafted by the Cubs in the 5th round.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) May 15, 2022
Before Sunday there might have been some question about whether Steele would remain in the Cubs’ rotation. Now? He’ll certainly start again against the D-Backs next weekend at Wrigley Field.
Chris Martin threw a scoreless seventh, but the Cubs could not score in the eighth. Scott Effross, who’s been lights-out lately, got the higher-leverage outing I’d been hoping David Ross would trust him with, put together yet another 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the eighth. Effross hasn’t allowed an earned run since April 17, a span of 12 appearances.
And, here’s where we came in with this recap. The Cubs wrapped up a winning road trip with four wins in six games, their first winning trip since they also won four of six in Pittsburgh and St. Louis to end the 2021 season. On this trip the Cubs outscored their opponents 27-18. They have evened up their road record at 9-9; now let’s see if they can start playing better at Wrigley Field, where they’re 4-11.
Also, all of the Cubs’ last three wins have been posted due to ninth-inning rallies. That’s absolutely a good thing.
The Cubs return to Wrigley Field to begin a seven-game homestand Monday night. First up is a three-game set against the Pirates. Monday’s Cubs starter is Wade Miley. At the time of this recap, the Pirates did not have a starter listed for Monday. Game time is 6:40 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.