The Chicago Cubs (29-16) have been playing really well of late, out-slugging teams en route to a 9-3 record in May heading into action on Thursday. But if the team has one fatal flaw, it’s their inability to hold a lead. The Cubs blew two leads against the San Diego Padres (21-23) on Thursday, losing 6-5 in the bottom of the 11th inning, via MLB The Show 20.
This game was well-pitched early, going into the 6th inning with no score. Javier Báez got the Cubs on the board, hitting a home run against Padres starter Cal Quantrill following a leadoff walk to Anthony Rizzo and putting Chicago ahead, 2-0. That gave starter Tyler Chatwood a chance to earn a victory, given that he had shut the Padres out to that point in the game.
Chatwood did allow a run in the bottom half of the inning, when an Eric Hosmer home run brought the Padres to within 2-1. Ultimately, Chatwood went six innings and allowed that lone earned run on three hits and one walk with 11 strikeouts. It ranks up there as one of his best starts – if not the best – of his Cubs career.
The Cubs added to their early lead the following fram as Nico Hoerner singled to start the 7th against reliever Craig Stammen, then stole second base. With two outs, Kris Bryant swing and missed at two sliders outside the zone before eventually working a 3-2 count. On the 12th pitch of the at-bat, Bryant finally got hold of a fastball from Stammen and sent it deep to left field.
Now ahead 4-1, the Cubs went to their bullpen. Danny Hultzen was the first into the game, and he allowed singles by Manny Machado and Francisco Mejía prior to a two-run double by Trent Grisham. With the lead cut to 4-3, David Ross went to the recently recalled Dillon Maples to put out the fire.
Jurickson Profar reached on a throwing error by Maples, but the hard-throwing right-hander struck out the next two batters. Ross went to left-hander Kyle Ryan to face Hosmer, who floated an RBI single to left field to tie the game at 4-4.
The game would stay tied until the 11th, thanks in large part to a perfect inning from Jeremy Jeffress and two shutout innings from Alec Mills. Hoerner once again started the inning by hitting a single up the middle and stealing second against Padres reliever Matt Strahm. After loading the bases with one out, Emilio Pagan came in to try to get out of the jam.
Ultimately he did just that, but the Cubs managed to score a run on an Anthony Rizzo groundout to second. That put Chicago ahead 5-4 with the red-hot Craig Kimbrel coming in to close out the game, but it wouldn’t be Kimbrel’s best effort. Mejía hit a roller to Hoerner that the second baseman booted, allowing San Diego to get the tying run on base with nobody out.
Kimbrel struck out Grisham but left a two-strike fastball over the plate for Profar, who sent it into the gap in right-center for a game-tying double. Mere seconds later, Franchy Cordero swung at the first pitch from Kimbrel and rolled a single up the middle into center, bringing Profar around from second and winning the game, 6-5.
Notes: Quantrill pitched a solid game for San Diego, going six innings and allowing only four hits, four walks, and two earned runs while striking out four batters … Kimbrel has been excellent closing out games for the majority of the year, and Ross said after the game that this loss doesn’t effect his confidence in his closer at all. He is now 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 16 saves in 18 chances.
Bryant – 1-for-5, BB, HR, 2 RBI
Báez – 1-for-5, BB, HR, 2 RBI
Hoerner – 2-for-4, BB, 2 SB, 2 R, E
Chatwood – 6 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 1 ER, 11 K
Hosmer – 3-for-5, HR, 2 RBI
Grisham – 1-for-4, BB, 2B, 2 RB
Profar – 1-for-5, R, RBI
Winning Pitcher – Pagan (2-2)
Losing Pitcher – Kimbrel (1-1)
Save – None
Home Runs – Bryant (16), Báez (11), Hosmer (5)