A relief and exciting all at the same time!
Whew. And hooray!
Addison Russell came through with two outs in the 9th, driving one to the gap in right center, scoring Jonathan Herrera, and walking the Cubs off against the Nationals. It was the first run in the entire series, by either team, scored on something other than a solo home run. Baseball, man.
Kyle Hendricks was solid again tonight, doing what he needed to do to give the Cubs a chance to win (and more) on a night with the wind howling out. Yes, some of the grounders were very hard hit and the Cubs were fortunate to have defenders in the vicinity. But, even still, I liked it: hard hit grounders generally become, at worst, singles. And then if you get more of them, even more chances for easy force outs and double plays.
All in all, it was a fantastic outing for Hendricks. The only damage he gave up was a solo homer that Bryce Harper clearly thought he’d popped up lazily to left field. The wind was howling out, though, and Harper hit it far enough and high enough to get it out. Can’t really complain about it, though, since the wind was blown when the Cubs were at bat, too.
After Hendricks was pulled, Denard Span hit a solo shot off of Pedro Strop, the first reliever in the game – and folks had visions of yesterday’s loss.
But then Kris Bryant tied the game in the 8th with a solo homer of his own, which hit the top – yes, the TOP – of the video board in left field. It was a monster bomb, came after Bryant had worked a full count after starting 0-2, and set up Russell’s walk-off in the 9th.
The Cubs got an assist in the 9th from the homeplate umpire (called strike three on Ryan Zimmerman as Yunel Escobar stole second base, when the pitch was a good bit inside and Hector Rondon badly missed his spot), and then another from Escobar, who inexplicably ranged off of second base toward third, and Rondon easily toss over to get him out. Nats fans are probably steamed about that one, given the one-run loss.
Much love to Russell on the walk-off – and Dexter Fowler, whose first inning homer gave the Cubs an early lead – but I’ve gotta go this way …