Carl Edwards Jr. and Steve Cishek struggled late, but the Chicago Cubs managed to walk-off with a 7-6 win Wednesday night to clinch a postseason berth.
Take a breath, Chicago Cubs fans. Despite the up-and-down traumatic experience that was Wednesday’s game, the Cubs are still in first place in the National League Central.
After holding a 6-2 lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates through five innings, the Cubs’ bullpen nearly gave away the game and division lead all at once. The Pirates scored twice in both the eighth and ninth innings, tying the score, 6-6.
Carl Edwards Jr. managed to get just one out in the eighth inning. He struck out the first batter he faced before walking the next two on five pitches apiece.
Steve Cishek replaced Edwards Jr., though he did not fare much better. The sidearmer got Starling Marte to fly out before walking Josh Bell to load the bases. Elias Diaz hit a two-run single, reducing the Cubs’ lead to just 6-4.
Diaz and Bell advanced to second and third, respectively, due to an error on Javier Báez on Diaz’s single. Cishek then intentionally walked Corey Dickerson to load the bases and went down in the count 3-and-1 to Pablo Reyes.
While Cishek got Reyes to groundout, Justin Wilson allowed two runs on three hits in the ninth inning. The Pirates actually had the go-ahead run on second base in Marte, but Jaime García bailed Wilson out, ending the threat.
Báez, Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward, combined for five RBI Wednesday, including three from Heyward (two on a first-inning home run). Ironically enough, not one of the three drove in the game-winning hit or scored the winning run.
Ian Happ led off the tenth with a four-pitch walk; Terrance Gore pinch ran for Happ, though the former didn’t steal a base. Mike Freeman (yes, the Mike Freeman from last season) bunted Gore to second.
Victor Caratini moved Gore to third on a groundout to first base. Down 0-and-2 in the count with two outs, Albert Almora drove a single into left field, giving the Cubs a dramatic victory that potentially could have been avoided.
Brewers just keep winning
The Milwaukee Brewers completed a three-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals, meaning the former is still just a half game back of the Cubs for first place.
The Brewers are off Thursday, giving the Cubs a chance to increase their lead to a full game with a victory over the Pirates.
As if all of this was not dramatic enough, Anthony Rizzo was interfered with by a fan trying to catch a foul pop-up with one out in the ninth inning. Rizzo did not blame the fan, however, perhaps squashing another foul ball interference controversy at Wrigley Field.
Talk about a weird and dramatic game, man.