Cubs Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins, who had a statue dedicated to his great career Friday outside Wrigley Field on Gallagher Way (and please read Sara Sanchez’ article on the ceremony if you haven’t), allowed 484 home runs in his career.
The old saying goes, “You have to be good to do that,” implying that if you’re not good, you wouldn’t be able to stick around long enough to give up that many homers. Of course, Fergie’s other numbers speak for themselves, but he did allow a fair number of home runs at Wrigley Field, 176 of them.
It wasn’t 176 home runs that left the yard Friday afternoon at the ballpark, but it might have felt like that many on a warm day with the wind blowing out at a sustained 25 miles per hout. The D-backs hit seven and the Cubs four, and that ties the record for the most home runs hit in a game by both teams at Wrigley (the NL, and MLB record, is 13, and the D-backs were part of that in 2019). During the ceremony:
Fergie before the game: "The wind's blowing out to right. Watch out, boys."— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) May 20, 2022
The game: pic.twitter.com/iq7btbERZ8
The Cubs had a chance to come back from a big deficit in the seventh, but ultimately fell short and lost 10-6, their third straight defeat.
The D-backs scored a pair in the first, but the Cubs tied it up in the second. Patrick Wisdom began the scoring with a solo homer after the first two were out [VIDEO].
Jonathan Villar followed with a double and Christopher Morel singled him in [VIDEO].
So that’s good! But Arizona came back with a pair of solo homers in the third to make it 4-2.
The Cubs cut that to 4-3 on a Villar homer in the bottom of the fourth. It was the 100th home run of his career [VIDEO].
That was as close as the Cubs would get the rest of the afternoon. In the fifth, the D-backs sent two more balls out of the yard, with Josh Rojas and David Peralta connecting, as they had done in the third. Rojas’ homer was with a runner on base, so it’s 7-3 after five. Kyle Hendricks took all that damage, and as we know, if Hendricks’ pinpoint control and command are just a bit off, long balls can happen, especially on a windy day like today.
Arizona made it 8-3 in the sixth with another solo homer and Rojas hit his third of the day in the seventh to make it 9-3. Incidentally, Rojas had not homered at all this year in 49 plate appearances before this game.
The Cubs tried to make a game of it in the last of the seventh. Morel batted with one out [VIDEO].
Morel’s second homer of the week made it 9-4 and then Ildemaro Vargas launched one onto Waveland [VIDEO].
So now it’s 9-5 and this is a moderately interesting rally. It got better when Rafael Ortega singled, and with Willson Contreras at the plate, the crowd got into it. And... so did Willson [VIDEO].
I love Willson Contreras and the passion he brings to his play. And as you can see below, that pitch was not a strike. But it was also close enough that a player shouldn’t erupt like that, and get tossed, and potentially risk suspension (though it didn’t appear that there was any contact). It was certainly entertaining, though.
The Cubs put two runners on base via walks after Willson got tossed, but Alfonso Rivas struck out to end the inning. Rivas wasn’t happy with himself, slamming the bat down in frustration after swinging at a changeup well out of the strike zone (pitch 6):
Rojas came to bat in the ninth with a chance to hit a fourth home run, which would have at least been historic, but he struck out. The record-tying 11th home run of the game was hit by Christian Walker after that strikeout. The seven Arizona homers set a franchise record, for whatever that’s worth.
Also in that top of the ninth, you can see the effects of the wind on this catch made by Robert Gsellman [VIDEO].
Pitchers generally aren’t supposed to make plays like that, but the wind took the ball away from anyone else who had a chance to catch it.
The Cubs scored one last little sad run in the ninth. Vargas walked, took second on defensive indifference, advanced to third on a fly to right and Ian Happ hit a sac fly [VIDEO].
Here are all the home runs:
I dunno, what can you do about a game like this? The visitors took advantage of the wind and the Cubs didn’t. The last time 11 home runs were hit in a game at Wrigley was June 18, 2006, when the Tigers smashed eight and the Cubs hit three in a 12-3 Detroit win. I don’t think I need remind you that the Cubs were a 96-loss team that year and the Tigers made it to the World Series.
Sigh. A World Series. Remember that?
Here are all the games in which 11 home runs were hit at Wrigley Field:
Most home runs in a game— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) May 20, 2022
Wrigley Field history
11 today - Diamondbacks 7, Cubs 4
11 June 18, 2006 - Tigers 8, Cubs 3
11 May 17, 1979 - Phillies 6, Cubs 5
11 July 28, 1977 - Reds 6, Cubs 5
11 June 11, 1967 - Mets 7, Cubs 4
The Cubs and D-backs will meet again Saturday afternoon at Wrigley, weather permitting (and it might not). Justin Steele is the Cubs’ scheduled starter and Madison Bumgarner will get the call for Arizona. Game time is 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.