The Cubs built an early 3-0 lead against the Dodgers last night in Game One of the NLCS. Nothing is insurmountable, and a mere three-run cushion is no exception, but Cubs starter Jon Lester was cruising. It was looking like a Dodgers comeback would be nearly impossible.
But then Lester was removed from the game after the 6th inning, Cubs pitchers got in a bit of trouble, and suddenly the game was tied. And it all happened in the 8th inning – the 8th inning! Again!
By the time Miguel Montero stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the frame, there was already a touch of disappointment that Ben Zobrist’s leadoff double hadn’t already translated to a run. Then, when Montero quickly went down 0-2, including whiffing on a cookie, it seemed like a golden opportunity was going to be squandered, and the momentum – such as it exists – would stick with the Dodgers heading into the 9th.
Miggy said no:
Wrigley Field exploded. The bar I was in across the street from Wrigley Field exploded. If you told me the entire neighborhood was shaking, I would believe it.
That ball was not just lifted out with the help of the crazy wind at Wrigley Field, by the way. That was 105.3mph off the bat and 402 feet. And it was postseason history, as the first go-ahead, pinch-hit grand slam in the playoffs. Ever.
It was a particular special moment for a guy who has battled back issues this year (there were rumors that he might not make the NLCS roster, but so much for that, eh?), saw his playing time decrease dramatically as Willson Contreras emerged, and still found ways to contribute as a veteran and periodic starter.
After the game Montero and everyone else talked about that, and about the moment:
Good for Montero. Don’t comment on his jacket.
An in-crowd video of the grand slam, which captures the pandemonium:
And Dexter Fowler celebrated the blast with the rare, on-deck bat flip:
Miguel Montero bateó el jonrón de su vida, pero el bat flip lo hizo Fowler en el circulo de espera pic.twitter.com/CfctMgBzlw
— Enrique Rojas/ESPN (@Enrique_Rojas1) October 16, 2016
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