Javier Baez comes up clutch as Cubs record second consecutive walkoff win


by - Senior Writer -
For the second time on the year, Cubs shortstop Javier Baez hit a walkoff single in extra innings. (Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports)
For the second time on the year, Cubs shortstop Javier Baez hit a walkoff single in extra innings. (Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO — Winning in walkoff fashion over the Cleveland Indians (26-23) for the second straight night, the Chicago Cubs (30-20) earned a two-game sweep at Wrigley Field and a four-game sweep of the season series versus the Indians. On Tuesday, the Cubs won 6-5 via a walkoff hit by pitch in the bottom of the ninth, and Wednesday's action ended with Javier Baez poking a walkoff single into left field in the bottom of the 10th, resulting in a 3-2 Cubs victory.

Baez was the star of the show, conducting his usual magic on the basepaths and in the field while also coming up with the game-winning hit. The walkoff contest extended the North Siders' recent stretch of thrilling matchups and improved the club to 3-1 in extra-inning affairs this season. In addition, the two-game set provided the Cubs with their first back-to-back walkoff wins of 2020, and Baez's winning base knock marked his second walkoff single in extra innings this year.


Inning-by-Inning Breakdown:


T1: Jon Lester fell down 1-0 in the top of the first after walking Francisco Lindor to kick things off. Lindor took second on a sacrifice bunt and reached third on a groundout before rushing home and sliding across the plate due to a wild pitch.

Score: Indians 1, Cubs 0


B1: Aaron Civale gave up a two-out base knock to Anthony Rizzo before picking up the third out in the next at-bat.

Score: Indians 1, Cubs 0


T2: Lester worked around a leadoff double by Jordan Luplow, preventing the Indians from adding to their lead.

Score: Indians 1, Cubs 0


B2: A leadoff walk of Kyle Schwarber was followed by a rare baserunning mishap by Baez, who was thrown out at second base attempting to stretch a single into a double. Schwarber made it to third on the play and scored on an ensuing base hit by Jason Heyward. Jose Ramirez then booted a grounder at third base, thereby ruining Cleveland's chances of turning an inning-ending 5-4-3 double, but Ramirez redeemed himself soon afterward by cleanly fielding a Nico Hoerner grounder and helping a 5-4-3 double play come to fruition.

Score: Indians 1, Cubs 1


T3: The Indians went down in order their third time up. Cameron Maybin robbed Lindor of his second hit with a diving catch in left field.

Score: Indians 1, Cubs 1


B3: Ian Happ led off with a single but was then doubled off at first when Bryant lined a comebacker that Civale gloved before quickly firing to first base.

Score: Indians 1, Cubs 1


T4: The Cubs returned the favor by doubling off a runner at first in the next half-inning. Baez caught a liner off the bat of Luplow and made a scorching throw across the diamond to Rizzo, thus outing Franmil Reyes.

Score: Indians 1, Cubs 1


B4: Contreras drew his MLB-leading 11th hit by pitch to begin the bottom of the fourth. A few plate appearances later, he was outed at second on a fielder's choice that Baez hit into. However, in his attempt at turning two, second baseman Yu Chang made an errant throw to first that Baez inadvertently kicked as he ran past the bag, enabling "Javy" to make it all the way to third because of the error. After Heyward walked, Maybin plated Baez with a two-out RBI single hit to shallow left. Hoerner collected a walk to load the bases, but Happ grounded out to leave all three runners stranded.

Score: Indians 1, Cubs 2


T5: Cleveland wasted no time in retying the game, as Oscar Mercado powered out a leadoff home run in the top of the fifth. The 371-footer traveled out to left-center, and it served as the last run scored until Baez hit his aforementioned walkoff single.

Score: Indians 2, Cubs 2


B5: Bryant was hit by a pitch prior to Rizzo grounding into a 6-5-3 double play on a shift. The bottom of the fifth was delayed by approximately seven minutes because of a drone flying overhead at the Friendly Confines, making for an interesting scene.

Score: Indians 2, Cubs 2


T6: Ryan Tepera relieved Lester to begin the sixth, and he picked Delino DeShields Jr. off at first after walking him.

Score: Indians 2, Cubs 2


B6: Civale struck out two as part of a scoreless inning.

Score: Indians 2, Cubs 2


T7: Rowan Wick went 1-2-3 through the seventh.

Score: Indians 2, Cubs 2


B7: Civale's outing ended after he gave up a leadoff single to Maybin and an ensuing double to Hoerner. Animated, eccentric reliever James Karinchak entered to pitch at that point and did his job by keeping the score knotted up. He struck out Happ and Bryant before Rizzo took first via an intentional walk. Karinchak then forced Contreras to ground out, ushering in the eighth frame.

Score: Indians 2, Cubs 2


T8: Craig Kimbrel struck out a pair in an efficient eighth-inning appearance.

Score: Indians 2, Cubs 2


B8: Just like Kimbrel, Oliver Perez pitched a three up, three down eighth that included two strikeouts.

Score: Indians 2, Cubs 2


T9: Ramirez hustled for a leadoff single after hitting a grounder to the edge of the outfield grass. Jeremy Jeffress prevented him from scoring, though, by tallying two strikeouts and drawing a groundout to conclude the half-inning. In the second at-bat of the frame, Contreras was shaken up behind the plate upon getting hit in the helmet by Carlos Santana's backswing, but he was able to remain in the game.

Score: Indians 2, Cubs 2


B9: Cal Quantrill sat the Cubs down in order in the ninth, bringing forth extra innings.

Score: Indians 2, Cubs 2


T10: Tyler Naquin began the 10th frame at second base. Jason Adam walked the leadoff man before former Cub Mike Freeman laid down an ineffective bunt that allowed Adam to throw Naquin out at third. The Indians were unable to score in the top of the 10th.

Score: Indians 2, Cubs 2


B10: Ian Happ started at second and immediately reached third, as Bryant swung at the first pitch of the bottom of the 10th and sent it into left-center. Phil Maton toed the rubber for the Tribe in the final frame. After Rizzo worked a 2-0 count, he was intentionally walked for the second time. Maton was able to strike Contreras and Schwarber out swinging in the next two at-bats, but he could not get by Baez, who smacked an 0-2 pitch into left field, scoring Happ and giving the Cubs their second walkoff win in a row. As for the Indians, they have now lost eight straight.

Adam became 2-1 by way of the winning decision, and Maton was handed the losing decision, making him 2-2. The Cubs have now won four in a row, and three of their last five games have been decided by one run. With 10 games remaining on their schedule, the North Siders stand 5 1/2 games atop the National League Central.

Final Score: Indians 2, Cubs 3


Statistical Breakdown:

Chicago Cubs: Batting: 3 R, 9 H, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 2 2-Out RBI, 2 GIDP, 4-11 RISP, 8 LOB; Fielding: 0 E, 1 DP, 1 Pickoff; Pitching: 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 0 IBB, 1 WP

Cleveland Indians: Batting: 2 R, 5 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SH, 1-9 RISP, 6 LOB; Baserunning: 1 Picked Off; Fielding: 2 E, 3 DP, 1 Assist; Pitching: 9 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 10 K, 0 HR, 2 HBP, 2 IBB, 0 WP


Studs of the Game:

Chicago Cubs: Javier Baez (SS): 2-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 2-Out RBI, 1-1 RISP, 1 defensive assisted DP

Cleveland Indians: James Karinchak (RP): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 IBB, 2 K, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 WP


Duds of the Game:

Chicago Cubs: Willson Contreras (C): 0-4, 0 R, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K, 0-2 RISP, 1 HBP

Cleveland Indians: Austin Hedges (C): 0-3, 0 R, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K, 0-1 RISP


Up Next: Following an off day on Thursday, Sept. 17, the Cubs will begin their final home series of the regular season. Chicago will take on the Minnesota Twins (31-20) at Wrigley Field for three games. The series opener on Friday, Sept. 18, will see Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks (5-4, 3.29) start on the mound and face off against Twins left-hander Rich Hill (2-1, 3.81), who pitched for the Cubs from 2005-08. The first pitch is slated for 7:15 p.m. CDT on a windy, mostly clear night in Chicago.


Highlights:

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