The Cubs overcame major struggles with men on base Tuesday night for a walk-off win. Wednesday night it was Philadelphia's turn to struggle with runners on the diamond. Tyler Chatwood was able to pick up Cole Hamels after an uncharacteristic bad start from the Cubs lefty.
Andrew McCutchen led off the game with a double to center field. He advanced to third on a Bryce Harper fly out with two men down. After a Rhys Hoskins walk, JT Realmuto doubled over Albert Almora's head. Luckily for Chicago, the ball was lost in the ivy for a ground rule double keeping Hoskins at third and Ceasar Hernández struck out to keep it a 1-0 deficit.
Kyle Schwarber doubled, Javy Báez walked, and Willson Contreras was hit by a pitch to load the bases against Cole Irvin. Almora grounded out to short to end the threat.
Singles from Hoskins and Hernández added two more runs to the Philly lead in the 3rd inning. Hamels was the victim of some well-placeed ground balls, but he struggled his first game against his old team with nine hits in four innings.
In the bottom of the inning, the Cubs got singles from Schwarber and Kris Bryant to put two on with none out. Irvin fell behind Anthony Rizzo 3-0 and threw a room service fastball to the big first baseman. Rizzo had the green-light and obliterated a game-tying three-run homer off the Budweiser sign in right.
Chatwood would take over in the 5th inning and he pitched very well, allowing just run the next four frames.
The North Siders broke the tie in a big way in the bottom of the 5th. Bryant doubled and then a pair of walks to Rizzo and Contreras loaded the bases with two out. Almora had another chance, this time he didn't miss. The outfielder jumped on a 1-1 change up for a go-ahead grand slam to the shrubs in center field.
The 7-3 lead was more than enough for Chatwood who cruised, other than a McCutchen solo-shot in the 8th. That was cancelled out by a Báez bomb in the 7th, also good to have him back. Steve Cishek took over for Tyler in the 9th and closed out the 8-4 win.
Almora has been a much more powerful hitter in May. 10 of his 20 hits this month have been for extra bases, including four homers. After just two extra base hits in April. With his glove, this offense suddenly makes him a big part of the team. If he can keep this going.
Let's Chat Up Chatty
Tyler Chatwood was very good for the Cubs Wednesday: 4 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 3 K, and 1 BB. He has lowered his ERA to 2.86 this season and has looked good. After all his struggles last year, it's really nice to see him do well. He also saved the recently shaky bullpen a lot of unnecessary drama for one night.
Every time I see Almora's hair I think of this.