That game had so many ‘moments’, so many ‘big’ plays. The biggest two plays came in the bottom of the 13th inning. After singles to lead off the inning by Dexter Fowler and Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo slapped a single to right field scoring Fowler to tie the game. That was after the Pirates scored a run in the top of the 13th to take the lead.
After an intentional walk to Ben Zobrist, Miguel Montero came up with the bases juiced and no outs. Montero lined a single to left field to score the winning run. Rob Zastryzny gets the win, as the Chicago Cubs (83-47) rally twice to beat the Bucs 8-7 (Box Score).
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 30, 2016
Jake was good most of the night. The umpire, Tripp Gibson, was not. And yes, I hate to bring the ump into this but it seemed like he was missing calls all night. He missed strikes that Jake threw and called them balls. He missed balls that were thrown by Pirates’ pitchers and called them strikes. None of the misses, it seemed, ever benefited the Cubs. In fact, looking at the strikezone plot on Brooks Baseball, the ump called seven balls on pitches Jake threw that were clearly strikes.
For all the missed calls Jake still threw a solid game, until the wheels came off in the sixth inning. Jake gave up a single and a walk after getting the first out. Andrew McCutchen came up and, with the Cubs leading 3-1 and two runners on, he popped up on the first pitch. I was instantly relieved and thought ‘cool, Jake may get out of this jam with no damage.’
That thought lasted all of one pitch. It was a pitch that Gregory Polanco pounded into the left field bleachers and it made the score 4-3, Pirates.
The next inning Jake got into more trouble and the ump made more bad calls. A 3-2 pitch to Francisco Cervelli that was clearly a strike was called for a ball, leading to the walk. That finally set Jake off. He barked at the ump and was clearly irritated by the call. It took Joe Maddon making a trip to the mound to calm Jake down, all while Joe questioned Gibson about the call.
Things calmed down and Jake went back to work with runners on first and second base. The next batter hit the ball right to Jake for a tailor-made double-play but Jake decided to throw to third base instead of second. The long throw from third to first was late and the runner was safe, no double play. That was the final pitch by Arrieta.
Travis Wood came on in relief of Jake and, after striking out the first batter, gave up a double to Josh Harrison that scored two runs. That made the score 6-3.
The Cubs battled back behind the bat of Willson Contreras as he hit a towering shot to deep center field in the bottom of the eighth inning – a two-run shot – to make the score 6-5.
In the bottom of the ninth, just a little more drama. Jorge Soler hit a one-out bomb to right center field to tie the game at six runs. The game headed into extra innings. That’s where the Cubs conquered the night, winning it in dramatic, walk-off fashion. A perfect ending to a wild game.
Stats that mattered
- Jake was good for most of the night but was clearly rattled when he left – 6.1IP, 6R, 5H, 3BB, 3Ks, 2HR
- The bullpen was clutch throughout, with the exception of one run surrendered by Zastryzny but to his credit, he loaded the bases with no outs and only gave up one run. That was big in the end – 6.2IP, 1R, 8H, 3BB, 9Ks
- So many huge offensive contributions: Dex 3-for-7; KB 1-for-3, 3BB; 3-for-5, HR, 2B; J-Hey 2-for-6; Willy 1-for-6, HR; Javy 4-for-6
That was a really big win for the Cubs against a streaking Pirates team that has been playing with momentum lately. They battled back right when it looked like they could have given in, given up. This team, this year…no way. Wins like this build character. And character building wins heading towards the playoffs are always good.
The Cubs and Pirates square off again on Tuesday night at 7:05 PM CT. Kyle Hendricks (12-7, 2.19 ERA) will toe the rubber tomorrow for the Cubs.