The Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night, but they’ll have to give out a couple of icepacks as Willson Contreras and Cameron Maybin were both hit by pitches to force in the winning run in the ninth inning.
With runners on first and third, Contreras was plunked by Nick Wittgren, loading up the bases. Maybin then stepped into the box and was immediately hit by a Wittgren offering, ending the game and giving the Cubs their third straight win.
With the victory, the Cubs extended their lead in the National League Central Division to five games with 11 games remaining on their schedule.
Javier Baez had a big night for the Cubs, smacking his seventh home run in the second inning of the game and scoring a run on a wild play in the eighth, scoring from first following a strikeout by Jason Heyward.
Anthony Rizzo registered three hits and drove in a run in the game, and Contreras also collected a pair of hits.
Francisco Lindor went 3-for-4 with four RBI’s, including a two-run home run off of Jeremy Jeffress in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game. Tyler Naquin went 4-for-4 in the losing effort for the Indians.
Yu Darvish and Carlos Carrasco both turned in quality starts for their respective starts, as Darvish allowed three earned runs in seven innings of work. Carrasco struck out five Cubs and allowed three earned runs in six innings, with neither pitcher figuring in the decision for the contest.
After Baez unloaded on a second inning pitch and sent it soaring over the batter’s eye in center field, the Indians scored a pair of runs in the third, with Lindor driving in Delino DeShields for the go-ahead run. Lindor hit an RBI single in the fifth as well, scoring DeShields again and giving the Indians a 3-1 lead.
The Cubs knotted things up in the bottom of the frame, as Kris Bryant hit an RBI single to left field and Anthony Rizzo doubled off the center field fence to knot things up at 3-3.
After a Contreras sacrifice fly in the seventh gave the Cubs the lead, Baez extended their lead with some heads-up baserunning in the eighth. The shortstop stole second base on a full-count pitch, then ended up scoring after the throw from Sandy Leon sailed into center field, giving the Cubs a 5-3 edge.
That insurance run proved critical in the ninth, as Jeffress gave up an opposite field two-run home run to Lindor that tied the game at 5-5.
Fortunately for the Cubs they managed to keep the game tied heading to the bottom of the frame, and Maybin’s walk-off hit-by-pitch was the difference as they won their third straight game.
The Cubs will wrap up their season series with the Indians on Wednesday night, with first pitch set for 7:15 p.m. at Wrigley Field.