‘One pitch’: Javy Baez delivers emotional walk-off for Cubs against Garrett, Reds
That’s all Javy Báez needed to give the Cubs’ a 6-5 walk-off win over the Reds in the series opener at Wrigley Field.
And he let Amir Garrett, who surrendered the game-winning pitch, know it.
After hitting the walk-off single to deep center, Báez had some words for Garrett as he walked to first base and then mouthed “one pitch” while he was mobbed in the outfield.
It capped a thrilling win for the Cubs, who rallied back from a 5-3 deficit to take the series opener over the Reds.
“We’re just trying to give every moment there and it just worked out that that was the last piece we had left and it lined up really nicely with [Rafael] Ortega there and them bringing in Garrett and Javy with good numbers off Garrett and in there with the bases loaded,” David Ross said. “Worked out really nicely. Some really nice job by the group to continue to fight back. It was a really nice win for us.”
Willson Contreras tied the game in the bottom of the 8th inning with a solo home run to left center field. They Cubs got on the board in the first inning with a 2-run home run from Anthony Rizzo.
The Cubs comeback was all the more impressive knowing some of the Cubs players found out in the middle of the game that reliever Andrew Chafin was being traded to Oakland.
“These guys have continued to fight up until the end of most games that we’ve been a part of,” Ross said. “I think the word had kinda spread throughout the dugout at some point. It was nice just to see these guys continue to stay focused on the game at hand and fight for one another.”
The Reds were able to get to Cubs’ ace Kyle Hendricks, giving him fits all night. Hendricks lasted just 4.1 innings, allowing 5 runs on 9 hits with 2 walks and 2 home runs. The Cubs bullpen was able to stabilize things, pitching 4.2 shutout innings with 8 strikeouts.
That included a clutch escape from youngster Keegan Thompson. In the top of the 8th, the Reds loaded the bases with the first three batters of the inning. Thompson struck out Tucker Barnhart then induced a fly out to Max Schrock and struck out Jonathan India to stymie the Reds’ threat.
That kept the Cubs within striking distance and allowed for the late-game heroics from Báez.
“He’s the ultimate gamer,” Hendricks said. “He always wants to be out there. So there was no way of keeping him out of the box. One pitch gets the job done. That’s just who he is.”