Chicago Cubs walk off to beat Brewers in 15 innings
Willson Contreras had squatted behind the plate for 15 innings, so he wanted to get out of rainy Wrigley Field in the worst way Saturday.
For Contreras and the Chicago Cubs, he got out in the best way by hitting a one-out walk-off homer in the bottom of the 15th to give the Cubs a muddy 2-1 victory over Milwaukee.
"Feels good, especially winning the ballgame," said Contreras, whose 10th home run of the season came off Brewers pitcher Burch Smith, the ball sailing over the left-field wall. "A little bit tired. I don't want to lie. A little bit tired, but I was ready to keep going."
Contreras wasn't the only one glad to see it end.
Pitcher Tyler Chatwood, who has done a good job in all roles in the early season, pitched the final four innings and got the victory to improve to 2-0 with a 3.10 ERA.
"I told them I was hoping we won it early," he said. "I don't know how much more I had, but I think we had been out there so long, I'm going to go out there as long as I can. I don't want to let somebody else pitch if we're trying to win the game, and luckily we did."
The Cubs had used their entire bullpen except for Mike Montgomery, but he was not available because he went 5 innings of relief Thursday against the Miami Marlins. Manager Joe Maddon said catcher Taylor Davis would have been his emergency pitcher beyond Chatwood.
There were enough other oddities on this four-hour, 56-minute cold and wet afternoon of baseball that ended with the Cubs (23-14) going back into first place by 1 game over the Brewers (24-17):
• Eight Cubs pitchers gave up 4 hits, 3 by starter Cole Hamels, who worked 7 innings and gave up a home run to Hernan Perez way back in the fifth.
• The two teams combined to hit into 10 double plays, 6 by the Brewers. Hamels benefited from double plays in each inning from the second through the fifth.
• The Cubs' Kyle Schwarber tied a career high by drawing 4 walks, 2 intentional.
All in all, the Cubs had 3 walk-off homers during the week: Contreras, Jason Heyward and Kris Bryant.
Even though Hamels' fifth quality start of the season seemed like a distant memory by game's end, he was well aware that he was out there.
"No, I think when it's that cold, you don't forget," he said. "It's still freezing. It was good. This is a tough team and to at least get this victory, I think is huge going into (Sunday), still being able to play tough baseball."
The Cubs managed 9 hits and had chances to score in the 11th and 13th innings but left the bases loaded each time. They stranded 14 and were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
The Brewers' 1-0 lead lasted until the bottom of the fifth. David Bote hit a two-out infield single. Albert Almora hit the ball to medium right-center, and Bote kept motoring home, sliding safely around the tag of catcher Yasmani Grandal.
But this was all about Cubs pitching, which struck out 17.
"When you get into that mindset and that long of a game, it becomes even more difficult to hit because everybody is trying to end it, which is really the wrong thing to do," Maddon said. "But everybody gets into that mode. And then the pitcher can really make some pitches that you'll get some bad swings at.
"Nothing here to complain about. We pitched our butts off. They wanted to win. We wanted to win. We did. We've been offensively challenged versus them. Hopefully we'll get it going against them offensively, but the way we played and how we played and how we hung in there, I'll take it."