The Cubs used more dramatics at Wrigley Field Saturday afternoon to pull out a fifth consecutive win, a feat no one outside of the clubhouse probably believed was possible. The home side hung in to the end and benefited once again from questionable Pirates defense in a 9th inning walk-off rally.
Chicago built up a 3-1 lead in the 4th inning on the back of a Matt Duffy RBI single and a pair of run-scoring groundouts. Kyle Hendricks completely lost it in the top of the 5th inning, walking in a run and hitting a batter to force in another before getting pulled. Trevor Megill took over and a wild pitch followed by a two-run single put Pittsburgh ahead 6-3.
Frank Schwindel hit yet another solo home run in the 5th inning to cut the lead to two. Things stayed right there until the bottom of the 9th when the Cubs mounted their comeback against Chris Stratton. Duffy singled and Sergio Alcántara walked to put two on with two outs for Alfonso Rivas, who delivered with an RBI single in just his 15th major league at-bat.
Rafael Ortega then came to the plate and hit a line drive to right fielder Ben Gamel, who had the ball bounce off the heel of his glove for the game-tying hit. Schwindel followed with a ground ball deep in the hole at short. The throw was wide and Schwindel dramatically dove around the first baseman’s tag for a game-winning infield single. (Box score)
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 4, 2021
Why the Cubs Won
Obviously, the Pirates have a lot to do with this victory. That being said, the Cubs took advantage of the many Pittsburgh mistakes and pulled out the win.
Alcántara’s two-out walk kept the game alive and allowed the Pirates to eventually beat themselves.
Stats That Matter
- Hendricks continues his recent struggles as 2021 nears its end: 4.1 IP, 6 R, 5 H, 1 K, and 3 BB.
- Three more hits for Frank the Tank as his OPS sits just two points below 1.000.
- Duffy seems to be back to his high contact form that succeeded in May.
- Congrats to Scott Effross, who earned his first major league victory Saturday.
The Cubs are on their first five-game winning streak since early June. Even though the competition has not been very good in this stretch, winning is still fun. If there is one worrisome trend, it would be the recent struggles of Kyle Hendricks after he had cruised to the MLB wins lead.