Addison Russell lifted Cubs to 5-3 victory over Reds with three-run shot in bottom of eighth in first game of year at Wrigley
After beginning the season on the road and winning five of six games (5-1), it was time for the first game of the year at Wrigley Field. The players had a brand new clubhouse. The hype surrounding the team was at an all-time high. And the most anticipated home opener did not disappoint.
Addison Russell, the Cubs’ 22-year old soon-to-be All-Star shortstop, delivered the game winner in the bottom of the eighth inning. Russell gave the home crowd a taste of what they were in store for all year. The Cubs were 57-24 at Wrigley in the regular season and it all started on a cold Monday night in early April.
Jon Lester got the ball on Opening Night at Wrigley and struggled against the Reds. Lester gave up single runs in the first, third and fourth innings. Lester turned the game over to the bullpen after six innings. The Cubs trailed 3-0 and did not have a single hit off lefty Brandon Finnegan.
David Ross recorded the Cubs’ first hit, a two-out single in the seventh. And Grandpa Rossy started a rally that got the Cubs back in the game. Matt Szczur pinch-hit for Trevor Cahill and walked. Bryan Price went to his bullpen for Caleb Cotham and he walked Dexter Fowler to load the bases.
Jason Heyward came through with his first hit in a Cubs’ jersey at Wrigley. Heyward singled to right off lefty Tony Cingrani. Ross and Szczur scored. At the end of seven, the Cubs trailed 3-2.
Adam Warren kept the Reds off the board in the eighth. And it was a one-out walk by Ben Zobrist in the home-half that started the comeback. Cingrani uncorked a wild pitch, Zobrist went to second. Jorge Soler was hit by a pitch. Price went back to his pen for Jumbo Diaz.
Addison Russell stepped in with the tying and go-ahead runs on base with one out. Russell then rocked Wrigley …
Russell took Diaz out to left center. The Cubs took a 5-3 lead and Hector Rondon struck out the side in the ninth to nail down the first win of the season at Wrigley.
Addison Russell was very good offensively at Wrigley this past season. Russell hit .272/.347/.486 with 18 doubles, two triples and 11 home runs for a .833 OPS. Russell finished his first full year in the majors with a World Series ring and hit .238/.321/.417 with 25 doubles, three triples and 21 home runs for a .738 OPS. Russell drove in 62 of his 95 runs in 75 home games.
Opening Night at Wrigley was the first of what turned out to be a long-list of memorable wins at the old ballyard for the World Series Champions.