After the Cubs again blew a late-inning lead to the Diamondbacks, I had my head down thinking sad thoughts about this game recap (seriously, it was going to be headlined: “Diamondbacks 4, Cubs 3: Swept”), when things turned around in just a couple of moments in the eighth inning.
It doesn’t have quite the ring of “Bryzzo,” but the “Schwisdom” tandem of Patrick Wisdom and Frank Schwindel homered back-to-back for the second straight afternoon at Wrigley Field. This time, the eighth-inning blasts were enough for a 5-4 Cubs victory, snapping a four-game losing streak and ending the homestand on a high note.
You’ll see the home runs soon enough. Let’s rewind to the beginning.
Wade Miley, as he did in his last start against the Pirates, started mowing down hitters and working fast. D-backs hitters started stepping out on him, trying to disrupt his fast pace. It worked for a leadoff walk in the second, but nothing after that until the sixth.
Meanwhile, the Cubs put together a nice third inning. Ian Happ led off with a double and Wisdom blooped a single that got taken a bit by the wind blowing in. Schwindel walked to load the bases with nobody out. I thought, “In what new and creative way will they fail to score a run in this situation?”
Thanks to the Cubs for proving me wrong here. Alfonso Rivas struck out and Andrelton Simmons popped up, but P.J. Higgins, just recalled, cleared the bases [VIDEO].
Higgins was just 1-for-23 in his nine games (five starts) with the Cubs last year, a single. So that was not only his first MLB triple, it was just his second MLB hit.
The game remained 3-0 through five, but Miley ran out of gas in the sixth, allowing a leadoff double. He retired the next two D-backs, but a single and walk loaded the bases, and two more singles scored three runs to tie the game.
The Cubs had three walks themselves in the bottom of the sixth, but a double play after the first two took away any real chance of scoring.
In the seventh, Keegan Thompson relieved Miley. The first hitter, Geraldo Perdomo, squirted a single to left. Thompson wild-pitched him to second, but then struck out Drew Ellis. Daulton Varsho followed with an RBI single to give Arizona the lead.
Thus, my “head down, thinking sad thoughts” feeling as the bottom of the eighth arrived.
Wisdom, leading off the inning and down 0-2 in the count, sliced a line drive homer into the bleachers [VIDEO].
Look at the launch angle:
That’s a line drive and I figured that was the only way anyone would hit one out with the wind blowing off Lake Michigan.
Two pitches later, Schwindel proved me wrong [VIDEO].
Now look at the launch angle on that one:
Schwindel got a high fastball and got it into the seats, not by much, but by enough. He’s beginning to hit like he was last year, if so, that’s a great boost for this offense.
Thompson was left in to finish, and he dispatched the D-backs 1-2-3. Here’s the final out [VIDEO].
Thanks mainly to Miley, the game went by quickly — Miley’s pace is the sort of thing you’ll see much more of when we have the pitch clock next year.
Per Marquee Sports Network, that was the first time Cubs teammates had hit back-to-back home runs on back-to-back days since Ernie Banks and Jim Hickman did it in 1969. That happened August 23, 1969 (11-5 Cubs win) and the first game of a doubleheader August 24, 1969 (10-9 Cubs win).
The win also raised the Cubs’ record in one-run games to 4-10, and with the Pirates’ loss to the Cardinals Sunday, the teams are tied for third place in the NL Central with 16-24 records. (Small victories, right?)
Also FWIW: Higgins is still undefeated as a starting catcher, 5-0 in 2021 plus this game.
The Cubs now head to the road where they’ve played much better than at Wrigley Field so far this year (7-15 at home, 9-9 on the road). They’ll open a four-game series against the Reds at Cincinnati Monday evening, with Drew Smyly scheduled to start for the Cubs and Vladimir Gutierrez scheduled for Cincinnati. Game time Monday is 5:40 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.