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Cubs end first half with crucial comeback win over Yankees

11 months agoAndy Martinez

The Cubs were looking to head to the All-Star break with some good vibes.

A come-from-behind win against one of the top bullpens in baseball certainly quantifies as that. The Cubs rallied from a 3-run deficit to beat the Yankees 7-4, scoring 6 runs in the final 3 frames of the game. The win gave them a series victory over the Yankees for the first time.

Manager David Ross c alled the 13-game stretch that wrapped up Sunday as “important” when they embarked on a crucial part of their schedule leading into the All-Star break. The 5-8 record won’t exactly mean it was successful, but the way it ended should give the Cubs confidence heading into the second half.

The Cubs split with the Brewers, a wacky series that could have gone anyway — the Brewers outscored the Cubs 23-22, showcasing just how close it was. Then, the Cubs won a pivotal series against the Yankees.

Sunday’s win was extra sweet.

Trailing 4-1 in the 7th, the deficit felt much larger. The Cubs had been 1-hit by Domingo Germán — the lone knock was a solo home run by Seiya Suzuki. But Germán left the Cubs a parting gift; a leadoff walk to Ian Happ before his day was done. The Cubs would load the bases 3 batters later on a botched grounder by Gleyber Torres.

Jared Young trimmed the deficit to 2 with a groundout. Then Yan Gomes, pinch-hitting for Patrick Wisdom, delivered with a 2-run bloop knock to tie the game. In the 8th, the Cubs loaded the bases, again, this time with no outs. The Yankees countered by having a 5-man infield. Suzuki responded with a flyball to right to give the Cubs a lead they would not relinquish.

The Cubs could tack on another run on a wild pitch and a 7th run on an RBI double from Tucker Barnhart in the 9th.

“Just continued to fight,” Ross, who was ejected in the 1st inning, told reporters. “That’s a really nice team win, something I think we needed going into the break.”

Now, it’s all about preparing for a start to the second half that could allow them to make a charge at the NL Central division. The Cubs open up their post-All-Star Game slate against the Red Sox at home, a team that’s 5 games over .500, but sitting in last place in the AL East. Then, they finish out July with a slate in which they don’t play a team above .500 until they open a four-game series against the Reds on the last day of the month. A strong stretch there and the Cubs could see their 7-game deficit in the division severely trimmed.

“Everybody talks about it, our division, we’re close enough where we have a chance,” Hendricks, who allowed 4 runs in 5.2 innings, said. “We’re obviously taking it one game at a time. We can’t wait to get a few days off and just mentally kind of take a break. But, we’re already excited to get back at it.

“This was a good way to end it and it’ll roll right into the second half, hopefully.” 

It could have been easy to write off the Cubs even just a week ago. The Cubs had started their post-London Series stretch going 1-5, including a sweep to the Phillies. But there was something about that finale against Cleveland that gave them a little mojo.

They had mounted a rally against All-Star closer Emmanuel Clase. They didn’t win, but that set the tone for what was to come. The Cubs showed a never-say-die attitude in final seven games leading into the All-Star Break.

“These guys have fought really hard,” Ross said. “The way we’ve comeback here lately has been really impressive.”

Three of their wins on the road trip were comebacks. Dating back to last Sunday’s rally against Clase, the Cubs scored 22 runs in the 7th inning or later.

“I think our team — there’s a lot of different ways that we can win,” Mike Tauchman told Elise Menaker after the game on Sunday. “To just put together some at-bats against a really good bullpen late in the game and just keep tacking runs on just kinda speaks to the never-quit attitude that we have.”

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