‘Worst feeling in baseball’: Rare Nico Hoerner mistake leads to big inning for Red Sox in loss
Nico Hoerner might’ve felt like the loneliest player on the field in the 5th inning Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
With the Cubs down 1-0 entering the 5th inning, the frame opened with a groundball hit right at the shortstop, but a high hop bounced past Hoerner’s normally reliable glove and into left field, leading Connor Wong to second base. The Red Sox would load the bases and score a run with back-to-back-to-back singles. Justin Steele then picked up a pair of outs — which would have gotten him out of the jam with just 1 run and a 2-0 deficit if not for the misplay by Hoerner.
But that extra batter, Masataka Yoshida, hit a grand slam on a 2-0 count that made it 6-0 and effectively put the game to bed. The Red Sox would go on to win the game 11-5, but Boston lead 11-0 in the 8th inning before the Cubs scored runs late in the game.
“It’s about the worst feeling in baseball when you make an error and it turns into runs,” Hoerner said. “Prepared to play and missed a ball and it leads to runs. Take the field and things like that can happen, but yeah that was kinda the turning point of the game, probably.”
The official scorer ruled the mishap a double, meaning Steele exited that game with one of his worst lines of the year — 6 innings, 10 hits, 6 strikeouts and a season-high 6 earned runs.
“I just misplayed that ball. They ruled it an error at first, which was the right call,” Hoerner said. “It shouldn’t be earned runs for Steele, for sure. Definitely a play I make almost every time. But I didn’t and it’s an error.”
No one from the Cubs argued that the play wasn’t an error.
“No,” manager David Ross said when asked whether he thought the play was a hit. “Official scorer knows that. Or else they shouldn’t have that job.”
Steele, though, downplayed it, praising Hoerner for his defense and tipping his cap to Yoshida’s approach at the plate.
“I was trying to get him to roll over a ground ball, those two pitches were pretty competitive and then 2-0, I just kinda had to throw a strike, didn’t wanna fall 3-0,” Steele said. “But he did what he was supposed to do. It was a tough break. Things happen. It’s baseball.”