SAN DIEGO – There were so many storylines developing to make this late Tuesday night game one to remember in 2019.
There was a comeback, the return of a great player, the continued strong play of another, and the chance to gain critical ground in a pair of playoff races. All of them were in play at Petco Park this evening against a Padres’ team stumbling towards the end of the season.
Yet all of these were overtaken by a couple of walks to some struggling hitters in the tenth inning that took what could have been a memorable Cubs’ victory and turned it upside down.
After getting the first out in the 10th inning, reliever Steve Cishek gave up an infield single then three-consecutive walks to give San Diego a literal walk-off 9-8 victory over the Cubs on Tuesday night. Gone was the chance to gain ground in the NL Central race after the Cardinals lost and on the first Wild Card spot after the Nationals were defeated.
Instead, Cishek’s four-pitch walk to Manuel Margot with the bases loaded kept the Cubs four games out of first in the division and three games behind Washington for the top Wild Card spot. Milwaukee pulled within a game of the Cubs for the second spot, though they lost reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich for the season after he broke his knee cap after hitting a ball off it during a win over the Marlins Monday night.
The three-walk tenth inning ruined a great comeback by the Cubs and Kris Bryant along with a big night from Jason Heyward that could have made it one of the more entertaining wins of the season. Heyward’s two-run homer got the Cubs’ started right in the second inning, but the Padres got five back in the bottom half, including three on an errant throw Ben Zobrist to make it 5-2.
Another run in the third by San Diego made it a four-run lead before Bryant got going, After a sacrifice fly by Ian Happ in the fourth, the third baseman hit a two-run homer in the fifth to cut the lead to one. It was his first homer since August 21st, though the Padres added two in the seventh to get them back and go up 8-5.
Then came a memorable eighth inning where Bryant once again hit a two-run homer, which was immediately followed by Heyward’s second homer of the night to tie the game at eight.
It stayed that way till the tenth when Cishek struggled mightily with his control. After an infield single by Luis Urias, Cishek walked Austin Hedges (.186 average), Travis Jankowski (.100 average), then Margot on four pitches to bring home the winning run
The potential for a great victory walked past them in San Diego as a great chance for a win slipped away.