Top 10 Games of 2020: Jason Heyward’s homer sparks 9th-inning comeback
The 2020 Cubs season may have been shorter than normal, but it was packed with huge moments and thrilling games.
Marquee Sports Network will air the Top 10 Games of 2020 presented by DraftKings with new commentary and more in-depth analysis each weeknight in November. The fun continues Thursday night at 7 p.m. with No. 2 — Cubs vs. Brewers from September 12.
No. 2 – Cubs vs. Brewers (Sept. 12)
The situation looked dire for the Cubs — but it would provide one of the most memorable wins of the season as the Cubs made a 9th-inning rally to shock Josh Hader and the Brewers 4-2 at Miller Park.
Trailing 2-0 to the Brewers and clinging to a 2.5-game lead in the NL Central, the Cubs headed to the 9th inning in Milwaukee facing Hader, one of — if not the — premier relief pitchers in baseball.
It was a bullpen day for the Brewers, and they had shut down the Cubs’ bats, with the Cubs mustering just 4 hits in the first 8 innings of the game. The setting was tailor-made for Craig Counsel to turn to the lefty. Hader was scheduled to face 2 lefties that inning — Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo with Javy Báez sandwiched between them and Jason Heyward due up fourth.
Things started bleak for the Cubs with Schwarber striking out on a fouled off bunt attempt. Báez gave the Cubs some life with a single to right field and Rizzo followed that up with a single of his own.
Still, things looked favorable for Hader and the Brewers. Heyward was a career 1-for-8 against Hader with 3 strikeouts. Heyward took the first two pitches, a four-seamer for a ball and a slider for a strike. He swung and missed on the third pitch, a four-seamer up in the zone.
“He was throwing his slider for strikes tonight,” Heyward said after the game. “That’s huge. When he has that going, you’re also in, like, all right, lemme just tip my cap to him.”
After that strike, Heyward decided to shorten things up. He wanted to just get the ball in play and give Báez at second and Billy Hamilton, who pinch ran for Rizzo, a chance to score.
“You really can’t care,” Heyward said. “You gotta be ready, be on time and get a pitch to hit and not try to do too much with it.”
He did just that, crushing an inside fastball to right-center field, giving the Cubs a 3-2 lead and leading the Cubs to their biggest win of the season up until that point. It was a special home run for Heyward and his former teammate, the Braves’ Freddie Freeman.
Illdemaro Vargas followed up Heyward with a home run of his own to give the Cubs some insurance. Craig Kimbrel shut the door on the Brewers to pick up the save. He allowed back-to-back singles to start the inning, but struck out Daniel Vogelbach, induced a force out at third and then got Orlando Arcia to lineout to end the game.
Kyle Hendricks showed his 2020 dominance in the game, striking out 7 and allowing 6 hits in 7.2 innings of work.
Kyle Hendricks’ pitching montage
Jason Heyward’s 3-run homer off Hader to take lead
Ildemaro Vargas goes deep to add insurance run