PHOENIX – If you want a real stretch of storylines, you could think of this game like one played in Cleveland on November 2, 2016.
That’s when the Cubs blew a three-run lead then rallied thanks to a few extra innings runs, including a few driven in by Ben Zobrist. Their opponent got a few in the bottom half of the deciding frame, but it stood up in a one-run win.
It would be a bit out of line to compare a late April game to a Game 7 of the World Series when the Cubs ended 108-year championship drought. Only the storylines match-up, but at least it ended well for the Cubs like it did two-and-a-half years ago.
An early three-run lead disappeared, and despite coming up empty in a number of opportunities to break through on offense, the Cubs had enough runs at the right time against the Diamondbacks Sunday.
Ben Zobrist’s two-run double broke a tie in the 15th inning, then Kris Bryant added a third run for insurance. It proved necessary as Arizona rallied for two runs before the game finally came to end with Cubs holding on for a 6-5 victory.
It gives the Cubs the series win over the Diamondbacks, winning the first and final games of the three-game set. It also gives the Cubs the win in the season set against the Diamondbacks, who they wouldn’t play again unless the teams meet in the playoffs.
The marathon was short of the Cubs’ longest game in team history, but the five hour, 36-minute contest improves the Cubs to 14-12 on the season. It was also the second-longest contest of the 2019 MLB season so far.
Early on it looked as if the Cubs might not need more than nine innings to pick up the series win when a two-run homer by Kris Bryant and a solo shot by Willson Contreras put the Cubs up 3-0 in the fourth. But Eduardo Escobar got the score tied by himself off Jose Quintana, hitting a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth then a two-run round-tripper in the sixth to even the score at three.
In extra innings, the Cubs had their chances to grab the lead, especially when they loaded the bases with one out in the 12th inning with nobody out. But Anthony Rizzo’s strikeout, Javier Baez’s pop out, then a fielder’s choice groundout by David Bote kept the game tied. In the 13th, Willson Contreras was on third with two outs and Zobrist up and tried to steal home on a toss by the catcher but was thrown out.
As the Cubs’ bullpen held, including a two-out, bases loaded strikeout by Tyler Chatwood to end the 13th, Zobrist helped the Cubs finally break through in the 15th. Chatwood’s double and Almora’s single was followed by the triple to right by Zobrist, then he came home on a sacrifice fly by Bryant.
After getting two-straight strikeouts, Kyle Ryan allowed three-straight hits that brought home two runs to make it 6-5. Allen Webster came in to pitch and gave up a long fly to left by Nick Ahmed, but it was just short enough be caught to end the game.
It was a marathon effort that may have seemed like a much more memorable contest of the past, but at the moment, it helps continue some Cubs’ momentum as an up-and-down April draws to a close.