In a stunning turn of events the Chicago Cubs pulled off the biggest comeback in major league postseason history with an amazing 6-5 victory.
Trailing 5-2 going into the 9th were the home town heroes. But the overly amped Derek Law, who replaced Matt Moore gave up a leadoff single to Kris Bryant. Giant manager Bruce Bochy turned to Javier Lopez. He walked Anthony Rizzo.
Two on and nobody out. The mood of the capacity crowd of 43,188, which was feeling awfully good about their chances now turned deathly quiet. They remembered Bryant’s game tying home run last night.
Boche, lacking a lock down closer, started the bullpen merry go round. Sergio Romo came in to face Ben Zobrist. On the fifth pitch, an 85 mph four seam fastball, Zobrist laced a double into right scoring Bryant, with Rizzo going to third.
Then even more machinations started. Addison Russell, who is having just a terrible postseason so far, was pulled for Chris Coghlan. Bochy countered with left hander Will Smith. So, the awesome depth the team has allowed Maddon to switch Coghlan for Willson Contreras.
All he did was single up the middle scoring Rizzo and Zobrist.
5-5. The crowd was sitting in stunned silence. Jason Heyward laid down a perfectly awful bunt, basically right back to the pitcher who threw Contreras out at second. However, Giant shortstop Brandon Crawford made his second throwing error of the night, and the throw went past first baseman Brandon Belt and Heyward advanced to second.
So, the bunt ended up working. This forced Bochy to bring in right hander Hunter Strickland to face Javier Baez. He shot a 99 mph fastball right up the middle for a single scoring Heyward.
David Ross, who had homered earlier to be the oldest player to hit one in the postseason at 39, hit into a double play to end the inning. But the damage was done.
Enter the headhunter.
Aroldis Chapman, who was tasked to do a two inning 6 out save Monday and failed was now in his element. One run lead, three outs to get. All he did was strike out the side, all swinging, all on 100mph+ fastballs.
The era has ended. The Giants, who had escaped elimination 10 straight times succumbed to the inevitable loss, and the Cubs finally lifted the monkey off their collective backs by not only eliminating a team on the road but it was the former World Champions.
No small accomplishment there.
This game was a stunner by any standards. One of quite a few games they’ve played this year that will be all time classics. Giant starter Matt Moore, one of Joe Maddon’s former pupils at Tampa Bay, pitched the game of his life with 8 innings of 2 run ball and 10 strikeouts.
He had tossed 120 pitches but with a 1-2-3 ninth looked like he still had some life left in the arm. But Bochy went to the bullpen, which has been an issue for them all year and turned out to be their undoing Tuesday night.
But that’s their problem, and they have a whole off season to sort it out. Meanwhile, the Cubs come home to await the outcome of Thursday’s Dodger-Nationals game. For once Cub fans can go to a favorite watering hole, watch a game for entertainment purposes only as their future foe fights someone else.
What a game. What a series.
What a season…