CHICAGO – Since signing with the Cubs, the biggest moment of his tenure in Chicago is probably a speech he gave in a weight room at Progressive Field.
Not to sell that short. Jason Heyward’s pep talk helped the Cubs collect themselves in Game 7 of the World Series to beat the Indians and win their first title in 108 years. His play outside of that, so far, has featured some brilliant defensive plays, but not really a hitting highlight worth note.
That changed on Wednesday night, when Heyward delivered perhaps his second greatest moment as a member of the Chicago Cubs.
In the ninth inning with two outs, the right fielder crushed a Grand Slam to right field to help the Cubs make up a two-run deficit and beat the Phillies 7-5. It’s the third homer of the season for Heyward and his first walk-off winner, one that was much needed after the bullpen coughed up a three-run lead.
But that was forgotten as the Cubs improve to 34-24 on the season, now having won seven of their last nine games.
Unlike Tuesday, the Cubs offense gave their pitching some early support as Anthony Rizzo’s ninth homer of the year put the team on the board in the second inning. Willson Contreras’ RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Javier Baez pushed the lead to 3-0 in the fourth, but Quintana was the story for most of the evening. For a second-straight outing, Quintana was solid through five innings and had two outs in the sixth when he gave up an infield single to Carlos Santana.
With a runner on, he was lifted for Steve Cishek, who came in allowing just one homer all season long. But Aaron Altherr took him deep to center field for a three-run homer to tie the game and end hopes of a second-straight win for Quintana. Then in the ninth and even more reliable Brandon Morrow, who himself gave up just one homer in 24 games, gave up the go-ahead long ball to cousins to make it 5-3.
The Cubs would load the bases in the ninth with one out against Adam Morgan, but when Ben Zobrist forced out to the pitcher, Heyward came up with a chance to win it or end it. He did the former, crushing Morgan’s 2-2 pitching into the bleachers in right, kicking off a celebration for the outfielder in a memorable moment in his Cubs’ career.