Three years ago tomorrow, the Cubs faced the Pirates at Pittsburgh.
The Cubs had lost the 3 previous days. The first loss was by 18-5; the third, by 6-5 when the Pirates scored twice in the bottom of the ninth.
In the series finale, the Cubs held a 4-3 lead after 4 innings. Then they erupted to score 5 runs in the fifth , on 6 hits. Two of the hits were by Kris Bryant: a leadoff double and a 2-out single on which a runner was thrown out at home.
In the sixth, Anthony Rizzo tripled and came home on a groundout, then Robel Garcia homered.
There was no more scoring after that, as the Cubs won, 11-3.
MOST IN 91 YEARS
Those 11 runs were the most by the Cubs in any game on Independence Day since 1928, and their second most in the Live Ball Era.
Tomorrow will be the 142nd time that the Cubs have played on the Fourth since 1876, inaugural season of the National League.
They have played 224 games: 166 in doubleheaders and 58 singles games.
They have scored at least 10 runs in 21 of those games, but only in 9 of the 186 games of the Modern Era, which began in 1901.
Four of those 9 came during the Dead Ball Era:
10-9 vs. the Superbas (today's Dodgers) in 1901
16-9 vs. the Giants in 1903
11-1 vs. the Cardinals in 1905
10-13 vs. the Reds in 1917
All the games were played at home.
CRAZY FIRST INNING
The Cubs played 18 games on the Fourth from 1918-27 and scored as many as 9 runs only once.
In 1928, at St. Louis, they lost Game 1 of a doubleheader, 11-6. Then there were immediate fireworks by both teams in Game 2.
The Cubs started the game this way: single, out, bunt single, 2-run double, single, sacrifice fly, walk, RBI single.
The final hit knocked out the Cardinals' starting pitcher Clarence Mitchell. Woody English, who had started the barrage, greeted reliever Fred Frankhouse with a double, making the score 6-0.
But Cubs starter Percy Jones didn't last even as long as Mitchell had. A single, a walk and another single produced a run. Jones struck out the next batter, then surrendered a 3-run homer, ending his day.
HACK TEES OFF
Former Cub and future Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander took over on the mound for the Cardinals in the second. Hack Wilson homered off his old teammate with 1 out, then 2 singles and a groundout brought home another run, increasing the Cubs' lead to 8-4.
After Wilson led off the fourth with a single, Riggs Stephenson homered: 10-4.
The Cardinals parlayed 5 hits, a walk and an error into 4 runs in the sixth, closing to within 10-8. On one of the hits, Wally Roettger slid into third and broke 2 bones in his leg, ending his season.
Pat Malone, who had relieved Mitchell back in the first, finally ended the inning in peculiar fashion. With 2 out and a runner on second, Malone covered first on a grounder and dropped the toss from first baseman Charlie Grimm.
The runner rounded third and tried to score, but Malone recovered in time to throw him out.
Malone returned to start the seventh and got 2 of the first 3 batters. Then he gave up 2 singles, the second an infield tap that scored a run and knocked out Malone. He had pitched 6.1 innings, facing 29 batters and yielding 5 runs on 9 hits.
His replacement, Art Nehf, faced 1 batter and walked him, loading the bases.
Sheriff Blake was summoned from the bullpen to face a pinch hitter, whom he struck out, keeping the score 10-9.
The Cubs got a little more breathing room in the eighth, when Wilson walked, went to third on a hit by Stephenson and scored on a groundout.
The Cardinals went down 1-2-3 in the eighth.
The Cubs did not in the 9th.
A single, an error on a bunt, a forceout and single filled the bases for Kiki Cuyler, who cleared them with a booming drive to left center. When the relay throw sailed past third, Cuyler raced home, too: 15-9.
Two singles and a forceout made it 16-9, and that's how it ended.
The Cubs finished with 21 hits, including 5 by Stephenson and 3 each by Freddie McGuire and Wilson.
The Cubs spent July 4, 1929, at home, playing a split doubleheader against the Reds.
The first game began at 10:15 a.m. and was ended after 8 innings, with the Reds in front, 9-8, because it was 1:54 p.m., and the crowd had to be dispersed to to make way for fans with tickets for the 3 p.m. rematch.
The Cubs fell behind, 4-0, midway through the third inning, then scored 6 runs in their half and 4 more later on, en route to a 10-5 win.
Norm McMillan had 3 of the Cubs' 13 hits. Cuyler smacked a 2-run homer.
HACK THROWS PUNCH
Wilson had 1 hit, a single leading off the fifth. As he stood on first, "Ray Kolp, a pitcher, yelled from the bench that he had doubts about Hack's gameness," as the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
"To prove the talkative man was in error Hack didn't hesitate long enough to ask that time be called. He simply sprinted for the Reds' dugout, clouted the offender on the jaw and then tried to rip the uniform off everybody who endeavored to restore peace.
"It took only about a half minute for Ump Rigler to shoo Hack from the foreign dugout, but the departed with a smile on his face and the show proceeded just as if nothing had happened.
"Cub player left their dugout and swarmed across the field. Fans began milling about in the stands, trying to get onto the field. Police rushed to block the exits."
Wilson and Kolp were ejected.
2 AT A TIME
A year later, on July 4, 1930, the Cubs used a big ninth inning to reach 10 runs in the first of 2 games at Pittsburgh.
They never trailed after scoring 3 times in the fourth and led, 4-0, as they came to bat for the final time.
A single and 2 walks loaded the bases with nobody out. A strikeout and popup followed.
Then Cuyler singled home 2 runs, Wilson walked, 2 runners scored on a very wild pitch and Stephenson slugged a 2-run homer.
The final score was 10-1.
The Cubs managed just 1 run in losing Game 2. And they did not produce 10 runs in any of their next 142 Independence Day games, over 85 years. They scored 9 just 3 times, in 1971, 1991 and 1997.
The double-digit drought finally ended on July 4, 2016, at home against the Reds.
Anthony Rizzo singled to open the Cubs' sixth. The next batter flied out, then Addison Russell blasted a home run, making the score 10-1.
That was the Cubs' third homer of the game. Kris Bryant had smacked a 2-run shot in the second inning and Willson Contreras had homered 1 out later.
Russell, Contreras and Jason Heyward each had 3 of the Cubs' 12 hits. Kyle Hendricks and 4 relievers combined to complete the 10-4 victory.
Incredibly, in all of their 244 Fourth of July games to date, the Cubs have outscored their opponents by just 23 runs, 1,036 to 1,013
They have outscored them by 277-264 in single games and by 415-332 in second games of doubleheaders, but have been outscored, 344-417, in first games of doubleheaders.
DOUBLE DIGITS BEFORE 1901
Here, in chronological order, are the 12 games on July 4 prior to the Modern Era in which the Cubs scored at least 10 runs. All the games were at home.
1877: 12-2 vs. Boston
1878: 15-7 vs. Providence
1881: 12-13 vs. Boston
1884: 22-3 vs. Philadelphia (G2 of DH)
1888: 10-8 vs. Philadelphia (G1)
1889: 11-4 vs. Washington (G1)
1892: 12-5 vs. New York (G2)
1894: 16-10 and 11-12 vs. Philadelphia
1896: 11-6 vs. Louisville (G2)
1897: 16-7 vs. Washington
1900: 10-5 vs. Philadelphia (G1)