Banner day: Cubs grind out doubleheader sweep of Dodgers
A tall task loomed in front of the Cubs as they arrived at Wrigley Field Tuesday morning for the doubleheader: Take on the defending world champions — who were throwing a pair of former Cy Young winners — and find a way to win despite a slew of injuries.
The Cubs wrapped up the day with a nifty 2-0 record, recording a doubleheader sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers. That included a hard-fought, extra-inning, walk-off 4-3 victory in Game 2.
“Huge day for us,” David Ross said. “Lotta bumps and bruises. Lotta maneuvering the roster. Guys just continue to stay ready. [Ildemaro Vargas] playing both games there, that’s his first start of the year — he doesn’t even have a game under his belt. Just all around big win. Defending world champs, doubleheader — it’s nice to get two in that scenario, especially when you feel like every little thing was going against us and then we come up with two nice wins.
“I think it really speaks to the character of the group. They battle, man. They battle. I thought tonight started to be the character of this team.”
In Game 1, they jumped all over Clayton Kershaw and handed him the shortest start of his MLB career (1 inning). Meanwhile, Kyle Hendricks looked a lot more like his usual self in a complete game gem in a 7-1 victory.
In Game 2, rookie Keegan Thompson kept the powerful Dodgers lineup at bay with 3.2 shutout innings in his first career MLB start.
The Cubs offense did their best to grind down reigning NL Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer, forcing him out of the game in the 5th inning. Jason Heyward’s homer provided the only run in regulation but in the 8th inning (which marked the start of extra innings in the doubleheader), Javy Báez hit a game-tying 2-run blast. David Bote walked it off in the bottom of the 9th with a single over the head of the drawn-in outfield.
“It’s obviously always great to come back at the last second,” Báez said. “It’s just so enjoyable to see us as a team. We want it so bad. I think things are going our way slowly. The way we have fun here and the way we compete, it’s at another level.”
On a day where Nico Hoerner hit the injured list and Ian Happ was unavailable due to rib soreness, the Cubs role players stepped up in a big way.
Ildemaro Vargas was added to the roster in the morning and started both games of the doubleheader at second base. In Game 1, he singled and scored from second base on a wild pitch. In Game 2, he walked twice and made an incredible diving play on defense:
Matt Duffy started Game 1 in left field — the first time he played outfield in his MLB career. Prior to the doubleheader, he was out in taking fly balls through the mist and chilly temperatures with Cubs outfield coach Willie Harris. The veteran was part of the big 1st inning against Kershaw, singling and scoring a run.
Jake Marisnick homered and scored a pair of runs in Game 1. Eric Sogard and Tony Wolters combined for 3 hits in Game 2.
The Cubs go for the series sweep Wednesday evening and will send Adbert Alzolay to the mound. Pregame coverage starts at 5:30 p.m. on Marquee Sports Network.