Cubs Rally in 8th For Thrilling Comeback Victory to Start Postseason
SOUTH BEND, IN – The Cubs offense was stymied for most of the night behind a stellar performance from David Festa, but in the eighth the home side flipped the script and rallied for a 2-1 win to take a 1-0 series advantage over Cedar rapids. Click here for the
SOUTH BEND, IN – The Cubs offense was stymied for most of the night behind a stellar performance from David Festa, but in the eighth the home side flipped the script and rallied for a 2-1 win to take a 1-0 series advantage over Cedar rapids.
It all started with the hustle of the 20-year-old Yohendrick Pinango. He blooped one off the end of the bat into shallow right to start the eighth and sprinting out of the box was able to dive headlong into second with a double. That forced the Kernels to make another pitching change and on came the right-hander Bobby Milacki. Milacki was immediately tested on what wound up being the most crucial play in the game.
Pablo Aliendo dropped a textbook bunt down the third base line that Milacki barehanded and then threw short and wide of first, skipping past Jake Rucker and into the Cubs bullpen. Milacki had more time than he though but hurried the throw and never really set his feet. Pinango scored to tie the game and Aliendo took his place at second. Kevin Made, in his first home game since his 20th birthday on Saturday, sacrificed Aliendo to third. That brought up the leadoff spot and with Lance Rymel's new look lineup that meant at a critical juncture with the go ahead run standing at third and one out in the eighth, it was up to Fabian Pertuz, and boy did he deliver. Pertuz smacked a single into center to score Aliendo and give the Cubs their first lead of the postseason, 2-1.
On yet another night of dominance for South Bend on the mound, two runs is all they needed to push the home side across the finish line.
Luis Devers made his first-career postseason start and three batters into the game allowed a solo homer to Pat Winkel. Devers, making his 12th appearance with the Cubs, hadn't allowed more than one run in any outing with South Bend – that streak would continue. On a night in which early on it felt he didn't have his best stuff, the man most people predict will be the Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the year worked through the next five innings scoreless.
There's no question the Cubs were kept alive with the incredible start from Devers, and the bullpen didn't flinch either. Michael McAvene worked a scoreless seventh inning, Riley Martin followed suit in the eighth, and Jake Reindl came in and absolutely tore through Cedar Rapids in the ninth like a hot knife through butter, striking out the side in order to get the save.
While the bottom of the eighth saw the Cubs rally from down one to up one, the catalyst for the comeback could well be how the top of the eighth finished. The eighth pick in this year's MLB Draft, Brooks Lee, singled to start the inning and with just one out Kyler Fedko walked. In a game that featured little offense and certainly felt like postseason baseball, an insurance run for the Kernels would've felt like a a massive blow. Martin delivered home and Wander Javier shot a ground ball up the middle. Pertuz dove to his right to glove it, flipped to Made at second for one out, and the young shortstop spun around and whipped a strike over to first to complete an inning-ending double play. Just like that the crowd roared and the Cubs dugout grew in confidence.
After taking game one of the Division Series, South Bend will hit the road to go take on the Kernels at Perfect Game Field Thursday night at 7:35 ET. In a best-of-three series the Cubs need just one more win to make it to the Midwest League Championship. Porter Hodge gets the starting nod for game two.