Game One Hundred Four – Cubs 7, Mariners 6 – 12 innings
WP – Hector Rondon (2-2) LP – Cody Martin (1-1) Save – None
Jason Heyward led off the 12th with the game tied at six and doubled off the ivy in right center. Heyward just missed a walk-off home run. Willson Contreras hit a deep fly to center. Heyward tagged and went to third with one out.
Jon Lester was sent up to hit for Hector Rondon. And on a 2-2 pitch from Cody Martin, Lester dropped down a perfect bunt as Heyward raced in from third. Heyward dove in headfirst … SAFE! And the Cubs celebrated an improbable win on what was a wild night at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs played an incredible game. Sunday was truly a team win. The Cubs scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at six and the game winner in the 12th was scored on a pinch-hit bunt from Jon Lester that plated Jason Heyward.
Joe Maddon used 22 of 25 available players to win a game in which his team was down 6-0 as late as the fifth inning.
Joe Maddon pulled all the stops and his players bought in and never quit. The Cubs played incredible defense and turned boos in the third inning into cheers and then a thundering ovation after Heyward slid in safe with the winning run.
The Cubs bullpen picked up Brian Matusz, who had a bad night in his Cubs’ debut. Matusz gave up six runs on three two-run home runs, one in each of the first three innings.
The Cubs’ bullpen pitched nine scoreless innings Sunday night, and Hector Rondon picked up the win after two innings of his best work of the season.
Carl Edwards Jr. righted the ship and really put the Cubs in a position for a comeback. Edwards Jr. pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Matusz and struck out five of the six batters he faced.
Travis Wood not only pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, he also played left field and made an incredible game-saving catch to rob an extra basehit from Franklin Gutierrez and save a run in the seventh as he crashed into the bricks. Wood went back to the mound, replacing Pedro Strop with two outs in the eighth and a man on first. Wood promptly picked off Shawn O’Malley from first base to end the inning
The Cubs defense was spectacular Sunday. From Wood’s catch in left to Addison Russell at short to Anthony Rizzo at first base to Willson Contreras behind the plate to a sliding catch in foul ground by Willson Contreras in left field, the Cubs made all of the plays behind the relievers to keep the Mariners off the bases and tacking on to their lead.
The Cubs started chipping into the six-run deficit in the fifth inning. Chris Coghlan walked to start the inning but was erased when Miguel Montero, hitting for Carl Edwards Jr., grounded into a 3-6 fielder’s choice. Montero took over at first base and lumbered to second on a single to right from Dexter Fowler (1-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored). Kris Bryant (0-for-4 with two walks) walked to load the bases with one out. Rizzo stepped with a chance to get his team back in the game but was called out on strikes.
Ben Zobrist (3-for-5 with a triple, a walk, a run and two runs scored) walked and forced in Montero with the Cubs first run.
Addison Russell (1-for-5 with a HBP, a run scored and two RBI) was hit with a 0-2 offering from Felix Hernandez. Fowler trotted in, 6-2 Mariners. Jason Heyward (1-for-5 with a double, a HBP and a runs scored) struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs made it a 6-3 game in the seventh. And it was a leadoff walk that led to the Cubs’ run.
Dexter Fowler started the seventh and worked a walk against Tom Wilhelmsen. Bryant struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch but Fowler was running with the pitch and swiped second. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-6 with a double and a run scored) flied out to center.
Ben Zobrist tripled to right center. Fowler scored, 6-3 Mariners. Scott Servais went to his pen and replaced Wilhelmsen with Edwin Diaz. Addison Russell went down swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs were unable to chip into the lead in the eighth. Mike Montgomery hung a zero on the board in the top of the ninth and the game went to the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs down 6-3.
Anthony Rizzo doubled to right with one out. Rizzo likely could have had a triple but with one out he realized it was not worth the risk. Rizzo stopped at second and moved to third on a single to left by Ben Zobrist.
Addison Russell singled to left center. Rizzo scored, 6-4 Cubs. But the Mariners’ left fielder made an incredibly bad decision. Zobrist rounded second and went to third. Guillermo Heredia threw to third thinking he had a shot at Zobrist. The play was not close and Russell saw the play develop in front of him. Russell went to second on the throw. And the Cubs had the tying runs in scoring position with one out.
Steve Cishek hit Jason Heyward and loaded the bases.
Willson Contreras hit a grounder toward third. Zobrist took off for the plate and Contreras hustled out of the box as Kyle Seager fielded the ball. Robinson Cano caught the throw from Seager and forced Heyward at second. Contreras beat the throw to first. Instead of a game ending double play, the Cubs cut the Mariners lead to 6-5 and had the tying run on third with two outs in the ninth.
A 1-2 pitch to Matt Szczur got away from Cishek and he uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Russell to score the tying run.
The Cubs tied the game at six in the ninth. Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless 10th inning. And Hector Rondon retired all six batters he faced in the 11th and 12th innings to set up the walk-off win over the Mariners.
With Sunday’s win (9-8 on Sundays in 2016), the Cubs improved to 63-41 on the season.
The Cubs welcome the Marlins to Wrigley on Monday for the first of a three-game series. Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to face Adam Conley in the opener.