The Cubs were on their way to yet another one-run defeat on Saturday afternoon before the bats woke up in a big way. The Diamondbacks held a 2-1 lead throughout much of the game and were one out from victory when Chicago staged a miraculous comeback to take the win.
Arizona took the lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning on an RBI ground out by Nick Ahmed, then Josh Rojas singled off of Adbert Alzolay in the 5th inning to increase the lead. Javy Báez doubled in the top of the 6th to reduce the deficit to 2-1, but that was all they could get against Diamondback starter Zac Gallen and the bullpen.
All that changed in the 9th inning, however, when the Cubs rallied against closer Joakim Soria. Rafael Ortega doubled into the right-field corner with two down. Pinch-hitter Robinson Chirinos then stepped to the plate and lined the first pitch he saw to left for a game-tying single.
That set the stage for Willson Contreras to crush a game-winning two-run home run to left. The myriad Cubs fans in attendance went wild as the ball landed in the bleachers, but those watching at home were a little less excited because the Marquee broadcast glitched out during the rally. Craig Kimbrel came on and slammed the door on the save for the unexpected victory. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
They did not give up until the final out and their pitching kept them in the game to make the comeback possible. Oh, and facing the Diamondbacks bullpen certainly had to help.
Ortega’s double gave a spark to what had been a mostly lifeless Cubs attack to that point. It seemed like hitting became contagious after that extra-base hit.
Stats That Matter
- Alzolay was solid and pitched around a few jams on his day: 5 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 2 K, and 2 BB.
- Contreras reached base four times on Saturday with two singles and a hit by pitch in addition to the homer.
- This was the Cubs’ first win when trailing after eight innings; they were 0-41 before.
It was a fun victory for the Cubs Saturday, but it probably doesn’t mean much for the season at large. Still, it’s good to get some exciting wins every now and then even if they don’t matter much.