The under-the-radar play that helped spark Cubs offense in huge inning
Sometimes, it’s the littlest things that pay huge dividends.
That’s exactly what happened Wednesday night in Pittsburgh as the Cubs offense broke through in the 2nd inning.
Jonathan Villar began the frame by lining a double into left field. Two pitches later, Nico Hoerner sent a single into center field.
The Cubs shortstop kept his head up as he rounded first base and when he realized the throw was coming in towards home plate, Hoerner motored into second. That put runners on second and third with nobody out for a Cubs offense in need of a big break.
It was a minor play but it took the double play out of the equation and put a lot more pressure on Pirates pitcher Jerad Eickhoff.
“There’s just moments throughout a game that you can find little things a player does that make a difference,” Ryan Dempster said on the Marquee Sports Network broadcast.
Here’s what followed Hoerner’s heads-up play:
—Jason Heyward was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
—Alfonso Rivas was hit by the very next pitch to force in a run.
—Rafael Ortega doubled home a pair of runs.
—Willson Contreras struck out swinging.
—Patrick Wisdom singled to plate 2 more runs.
—Ian Happ homered to center field.
The end result was 7 runs in the inning for a team that had scored just 2 runs total in the previous 27 innings.
It was the 6th time this season the Cubs scored 5 or more runs in an inning and 5 of those instances have come against the Pirates pitching staff.