Pete Alonso did it again. He hit another home run off the Cubs, a two-run shot in the first inning off Jameson Taillon, and thoughts of “Here we go again” raised their ugly heads.
But these are better Cubs than you’ve seen in recent years, or even at times earlier this year. Taillon settled down and wound up throwing seven strong innings, allowing just those two runs and striking out seven (with no walks), and the Cubs pulled out a 3-2 win on the strength of home runs by Cody Bellinger and Mike Tauchman.
Truth be told, Alonso’s home run didn’t make it by much, just barely over the orange line that denotes the top of the wall at Citi Field. It took a review to confirm that it had hit the back wall behind the line.
After Tauchman walked leading off the game, eight Cubs went down in a row before Tauchman reached again in the third on a two-out single. But the Cubs could not score and went to the fourth still down 2-0.
That was Bellinger’s 17th, and 10th in 29 games since July 6.
The Cubs tied the game in the fifth. Christopher Morel led off with a walk and Yan Gomes doubled him in [VIDEO].
The Cubs might have scored more in the fifth, but for a couple of TOOTBLANs.
Nick Madrigal hit a comebacker and Gomes, ill-advisedly, tried to take third. He was thrown out [VIDEO].
To his credit, Gomes made the play close by pulling his front leg back and trying to slide in with his back leg. It was close, and the Cubs asked for a review, but it was ruled “call confirmed.”
Well, that’s not good. But the game is still tied and Taillon kept mowing down Mets. It was one of his better outings of the year and dropped his season ERA another 19 points, from 5.36 to 5.17. Another one like that and it’ll be under 5. Last six starts for Jamo: 2.17 ERA, 1.018 WHIP, .209 opponents BA.
So the game is tied going to the eighth. Tauchman un-tied it [VIDEO].
I cannot say enough about the good contributions Mike Tauchman has made to this team, both at the plate and in the field. What an excellent pickup by Jed Hoyer & Co.
The Cubs thus needed six outs for a win. Julian Merryweather was given the eighth-inning assignment. He allowed a pair of hits, but got out of the inning scoreless, and Tauchman made a nice grab as part of that.
Then it was Adbert Alzolay’s turn to preserve the one-run lead in the ninth. A leadoff single put the tying run on base, with Alonso up, but Adbert got him to line out to Tauchman.
Alzolay got BCB favorite Daniel Vogelbach to hit a comebacker. He was ready to throw to second and you can see Dansby Swanson signaling, “Hang on! Wait till I get to the base!” In any case, the Cubs completed the double play and evened up the series against the Mets.
The Reds and Brewers both lost Wednesday, the Brewers in spectacular fashion by allowing four runs in the 10th inning, three of them on bases-loaded walks. So the Cubs once again inhabit the third wild-card spot, a percentage point ahead of the Reds, and move to within 1½ games of first place in the N.L. Central. The Phillies and Giants also lost Tuesday night, so the Cubs moved to within three games of the top wild-card spot.
More on Taillon: He retired the last 16 Mets he faced after a two-out double by Omar Narváez in the second. Here are his seven strikeouts [VIDEO].
The Cubs will go for the series win Wednesday evening at Citi Field. Kyle Hendricks will start for the Cubs and David Peterson will be on the mound for the Mets. Game time is again 6:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.