Jose Quintana shoved, and the offense did enough to give the bullpen a relatively comfortable lead that they would not relinquish. Quintana threw six strong innings of one run ball while allowing four hits, striking out six, and walking no batters. It was his first start all year in which he did not walk an opposing batter. Javy Baez tied his career high for home runs in a season (23) to start the scoring in the top of the second inning with a solo oppo taco. Anthony Rizzo added a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the seventh. The bullpen was a pretty shaky, but thankfully was able to bear down and get outs under immense stress. Luckily, the Cubs have some great defenders, because there were some fantastic plays in the field down the stretch that made a huge difference in the game (box score).
Why the Cubs Won
In addition to Jose Quintana’s great performance and the offense doing its job, Javy Baez and David Bote made a couple of great throws to home to keep runners from scoring in the eighth and ninth. Both plays needed to be executed perfectly to result in outs, and the Cubs were up to the task this afternoon.
With a man on third, the infield in, and one out in the top of the ninth, Pedro Strop was able to induce a ground ball to David Bote. Corey Spangenberg, the runner at third, was running on the play. Bote had to make a perfect throw home to keep the Padres from tying the game, and he did. Spangenberg was cut down at the plate, and Pedro Strop would go on to strike out Austin Hedges to end the game.
Stats that Matter
- Two of the five runs the Cubs scored were on sacrifice flies to center (Zobrist and Happ). The other non-home run tally was driven in by a fielder’s choice that no outs were recorded on.
- The Cubs went 0-5 with runners in scoring position.
- In three innings of work, the Cubs bullpen gave up four hits, walked two, and allowed three runs (two earned) to cross the plate. They also struck out two.
- Twice in this game, Tommy La Stella singled, moved to third on a Rizzo single, and was driven in by Ben Zobrist. The 9-1-2 portion of the lineup was quite productive this afternoon at Wrigley.
After a disappointing performance last night, the Cubs were able to win the game in spite of a shaky bullpen. One would hope these final two games against the Padres are a little more comfortable, as the visitors from San Diego have made things difficult on the Cubs to start this series.
Tomorrow at 1:20 CT, Kyle Hendricks will get the nod for the Cubs, while Joey Lucchesi will take the hill for the Padres. The game will be broadcast on CSN Chicago.