How Cubs scored runs in 1-0 wins

The Cubs' 1-0 victory over the Braves on Friday was their 251st by that smallest possible score since the Modern Era began in 1901.

They won twice by 1-0 in the post season, in Game 4 of the 1906 World Series against the White Sox and in Game 1 of the 2016 National League Division Series against the Giants.



Christopher Morel drove in the run that beat the Braves with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.

After he did, I reported that it was only the 6th time the Cubs had won, 1-0, on a run-scoring fly out.

I also reported that sacrifice flies had been recorded officially only since 1954.

I wanted to know how many there had been in earlier seasons.

To find out, I researched all of the Cubs' 1-0 victories, through play-by-play at and/or accounts of games in contemporary newspapers.



It turns out that the Cubs have earned 19 victories in which a fly ball produced their only run.

The first such win came on July 1, 1906, at home against the Reds. It was hit by Joe Tinker, in the seventh inning, with 1 out and a runner on third.

More than 5 years passed before the new such fly, on Aug. 13, 1911, at home against the Cardinals.

The Inter Ocean newspaper even used the now-common phrase to describe the play, which came in the sixth inning, with 1 out and runners on the corners:

"[Vic] Saier picked out a nice fast one from [Slim] Sallee's assortment, sent a long fly to [Rebel] Oakes in center that went for a sacrifice fly and [Heinie] Zimmerman crossed the plate."

Three of the 16 subsequent sacrifice flies came later than Morel's: by Lloyd McClendon, with 1 out in the 11th inning at Pittsburgh in 1989; by Chris Denorfia, with 1 out in the 10th, in 2015; and by Dom Dallessandro, with 0 out in the 10th in 1943.

In 1921, John Sullivan did it with 1 out in the eighth, the same as Morel.

Denorfia's was the only one of the 19 that ended a game.



The Cubs have had 31 wins by 1-0 on the final play. The breakdown by type of play:

11: Single

6: Home run

4: Double

4: Fielder's choice

2: Squeeze bunt

1: Groundout

1: Infield error

1: Sacrifice fly

1: Wild pitch

The batters who hit the home runs were Jimmy Archer (1911, 10th inning), Ernie Banks (1960, 9th), Ed Bouchee (1961, 9th), Joe Pepitone (1971, 12th), Anthony Rizzo (2014, 9th) and Chris Denorfia (2015, 11th).



The homers by Bouchee and Pepitone were the only times they drove in the lone run in a Cubs victory.

Denorfia and Rizzo did it twice; Archer, 3 times; and Banks, 4.

A total of 152 different players have provided the run in the 251 wins by 1-0.


Joe Tinker did it most often, 9 times.

Solly Hofman and Billy Williams did 7; Frank Chance and Andy Pafko, 6; and Jimmy Slagle, 5.

7 players did it 4 times, including Banks, Gabby Hartnett, Ron Santo and Sammy Sosa.

Jody Davis and Jerry Morales are among the 7 who did it 3 times.

The 22 with 2 include Glenn Beckert, Phil Cavarretta, Willson Contreras, Rogers Hornsby, Don Kessinger, Bill Nicholson, Anthony Rizzo, Ryne Sandberg, Kyle Schwarber and Hack Wilson.

That's a total of 42 players who made the difference in multiple 1-0 games.


Among the 110 who did it once are David Bote, Andre Dawson, Johnny Evers, Mark Grace, Stan Hack, Ian Happ, Jason Heyward, Aramis Ramirez, Hank Sauer and Alfonso Soriano.



Soriano's was a home run leading off the bottom of the first inning against the Pirates on May 9, 2007. That is the only game the Cubs ever have won, 1-0, on a homer by their first batter.

Juan Pizarro homered to beat the Mets, 1-0, in 1971, making him the only pitcher to do so. Five other pitchers drove in a game's only run: Gregg Maddux, Charlie Root, Ismael Valdez, Hippo Vaughn and Carlos Zambrano.


Banks and Cavarretta each hit home runs in 3 games that ended 1-0.

Eight other players turned the trick twice: Phil Cavarretta, Rick Monday, Jerry Morales, Vic Saier, Ryne Sandberg, Frank Schulte, Kyle Schwarber and Sammy Sosa.



In addition to their 56 victories by 1-0 on a home run, the Cubs have won twice when a batter swung at a pitch and circled the bases on a triple plus an error.


On April 29, 1907, at Cincinnati, after 8 scoreless innings, Jimmy Slagle "tapped a floating eel ball squarely between the nostrils and banged it far over center," according to the Chicago Tribune. "[Lefty] Davis took one look and tore back, but could not overtake the ball until Slagle was well around the circuit.

"It was a three bagger sure, but when [third baseman Mike] Mowrey led [shortstop Hans] Lobert's relay of the throw get past him to the stands, Jimmy kept going with the run which proved sufficient unto the day."


On April 27, 1970, at Pittsburgh, with 2 out in the third inning, Glenn Beckert lined a ball into the gap in right-center.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

"[Roberto] Clemente, trying for a swift cutoff, missed, then had some difficulty retrieving the ball. Beckert got the go-ahead from Coach Peanuts Lowrey at third base.

"Clemente threw accurately to [second baseman] Bill Mazeroski, who threw on one hop to [catcher] Manny Sanguillen. Beckert appeared to be a dead Cub -- by 10 about 10 feet.

"As Sanguillen grabbed for the ball, it bounced off his glove and Beckert, who had slid about two feet short of the plate, leaned over and touched it while the ball rolled to the backstop."


The Cubs have won 6 games, 1-0, with a triple driving home the only run. The most recent, by Alex Avila, was the latest of the 6, on Sept. 6, 2017, at Pittsburgh, with 2 out in the top of the ninth.


Just the day before Slagle's triple, the Cubs had won at St. Louis, 1-0, thanks to an RBI triple by Newt Randall in the third inning.

That was one of just 2 triples by Randall, a 27-year-old rookie outfielder, in 78 at bats during 22 games as a Cub. He was batting .205 when he was traded in late June to the Braves, for whom he batted .213 in 258 at bats until the end of his only big league season.


Here are some other obscure Cubs who were responsible for the lone run in 1 game. How many of these names do you recognize?

Pete Childs, Bob Chipman, Blake DeWitt, Pete Kilduff, Roy Leslie, Mickey Livingston, Fritz Mollwitz, Eddie Pick, Newt Randall, Marv Rickert, Brad Snyder, Al Todd, Chad Tracy, Gary Varsho, Harry Wolter and Tony York.

Childs gave the Cubs their first 1-0 win of the Modern Era on May 21, 1901, when he singled against the Braves with the bases loaded and 1 out in the 17th inning.

Pick's winning hit was a home run.



The Cubs have had fewer than half as many 1-0 wins, 27, in which the run scored on a double as on a homer, 56.

Frank Chance is the only player to hit 3 decisive doubles in 1-0 games. His second, in 1906, was a walk-off with 1 out in the 10th inning.

Tyler Colvin produced a walk-off double with 2 out in the 10th in 2011. He had doubled in the lone run in the 8th in a game the previous season, so the walk-off made him just the second Cub with multiple doubles that produced 1-0 wins.

Mike Gonzalez (1926) and Kiki Cuyler (1934) also have had walk-off doubles that ended scoreless stalemates, both in the ninth. Gonzalez's came on the first pitch after a leadoff double by Jimmy Cooney; Cuyler's, with 1 out and a runner on first.

The most recent Cub with an RBI double in a 1-0 win was Matt Szczur, on June 30, 2015, against the Mets at New York, with 2 out in the sixth.



As you would expect, there have been far more singles that produced the run in 1-0 games than any other hit: 92, which is 1 more than the total of homers (56), triples (8) and doubles (27).

One of the singles did not score the run directly.

There was a runner on first with 2 out in the eighth inning when pitcher Button Briggs singled to right field. The runner rounded second and headed for third. The outfielder's throw bounced past third, allowing the runner to score.

Ten singles that drove home the game's only run were walk-offs, the most recent by Sammy Sosa, on May 31, 2003, with 1 out in the 16th inning against the Astros.



Here are the other ways in which the Cubs scored in 1-0 victories, and how many times they did each:

Double plays: 1

Errors: 6

Fly out and error on throw: 1

Groundout: 4

Sacrifice fly: 19

Squeeze bunt: 3

Steal: 4

Walk: 5

Wild pitch 5

That is a total of 68 plays, which is 27 percent of all 251 that produced the only run.

Following is a look at some of those types of plays.


Double plays

The only double play that resulted in a 1-0 victory came on July 25, 1919, with the bases loaded in the top of the first inning at St. Louis. Fred Merkle hit into the 4-6-3 twin killing.


One of the errors ended the game, as the Phillies' second baseman threw wildly to first after fielding a 1-out ground ball by Rogers Hornsby with runners on first and second in the 10th inning.


One of the groundouts was a walk-off against the Phillies, too. On Sept. 20, 1911, with 1 out in the ninth and Dave Shean on second base, Jimmy Archer hit a ball toward right field. The first baseman lunged for and grabbed. He tossed to the pitcher, covering first, to retire Archer. Shean never hesitated, rounding third and heading home, where he beat the belated throw from the pitcher.

Fielder's choice

The majority of the fielder's choices were attempts at double plays that failed. One ended a game in the 12th inning; 3 others, in the ninth.

There also were walk-off fielder's choices in 11th and 9th on which the fielder threw home too late to tag the runner from third.

On Sept. 23, 1905, in the fifth inning, with no score, 1 out and runners on first and second, Jimmy Casey grounded to the Giants' second baseman, who tossed to the shortstop at second for a forceout. The shortstop, thinking it was the third out rather than the second, rolled the ball toward the mound and headed for the dugout. The runner sprinted for home and scored what turned out to be the only run of the day.

Squeeze bunt

The squeeze bunts in 1-0 wins were by Solly Hoffman (1907, 1st inning), Harry Steinfeldt (1910, 4th), Jose Cardenal (1977, 11th) and Vance Law (1988, 10th). The latter 2 were walk-offs.


Two of the steals were of home, by Frank Schulte (1915) and Heinie Zimmerman (1916). On the 2 others, in 1909 and 1976, a runner from third scored when the catcher threw wildly to second trying to gun down a runner stealing from first.


The batters who walked, forcing in a game's only run, were Jimmy Slagle (1903, 5th inning), Riggs Stephenson (1929, 1st), Bill Madlock (1975, 11th, walk-off), Bobby Murcer (1977, 6th) and Carlos Zambrano (2004, 5th).

Wild pitch

On Aug. 18, 1909, the Cubs beat the Reds, 1-0, on a wild pitch with 2 out in the ninth and runners at second and third.

That is their only such walk-off win. The subsequent run-scoring wild pitches in 1-0 games were in 1910 (13th inning, at Brooklyn), 1918 (1st, at home vs. Cardinals), 1942 (8th, at home vs. Braves) and 1973 (1st, at New York vs. Mets).

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