By Jim Irwin
Yesterday’s game was my favorite game of the year bar none. It was day baseball at Wrigley, a chill in the air, with Chicago legends involved in the festivities as far as the eye can see. It was put up or shut up time for Jose Quintana, as the July addition to add stability to the rotation showed flashes of brilliance down the stretch, but had some starts that made Cubs fans scratch their heads. He showed up. Just under 6 innings pitched, 2 hits, a start that should have gone a little longer if not for Kyle Schwarber’s blunder in the sixth inning, kicking the ball around in left field to give Daniel Murphy 3 bases and the Nationals a 1-0 lead. On the other side, Max Scherzer threw lights out no hit baseball for over six innings, making fans forget about his hamstring injury a little over a week ago.
That all changed in the bottom of the 7th, when 2B Ben Zobrist broke up Scherzer’s no-no with a double in the gap, with Kyle Schwarber on deck to redeem himself. Dusty Baker pulled Scherzer after the Zobrist double, bringing in the lefty Sammy Solis, forcing Maddon to pinch hit Albert Almora in Schwarber’s spot, and he delivered. He tied the game on a screaming single to left field, putting the game in the bullpen’s hands, and they delivered.
Carl Edwards trotted out in the top of the eighth, giving Cubs fans flashbacks to Saturday night’s Game 2 where he gave up the game tying home run to Bryce Harper, ultimately swinging the game into Washington’s hands. Who should Edwards face in the eighth but the top of the order, and he did what we have seen him do plenty of times in the past, go 1-2-3 and show great emotion, firing up the home fans. Tie ball game, bottom of the eighth.
Tommy LaStella led off the eighth on a pinch hit walk, proving his necessity on the 2017 playoff roster. Leonys Martin pinched ran for LaStella, advancing to second on a perfectly placed Jon Jay bunt. With two outs, the red hot Anthony Rizzo dug in and hit a bloop single to left, perfectly placed, scoring Martin and taking a 2-1 lead. Wade Davis shut the door in the ninth, and that’s all she wrote. 2-1 win taking a 2-1 lead in the series with Jake Arrieta on the mound today. Who’s got it better than us?