Chicago Cubs Recap: Anthony Rizzo delivers walk-off winner at Wrigley
Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo delivered his first RBI of the season in the bottom of the ninth, giving his team a walk-off win in the home opener at Wrigley Field.
Against one of the best closers in the game Monday, Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo did not shy away, delivering a walk-off, opposite-field single in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, capping a memorable home opener at Wrigley Field.
With Jon Jay at third base and two away, Rizzo came through against Kenley Jansen, fighting off a pitch to left field for his first RBI of the season.
Innings earlier, Jon Lester departed with a 2-1 lead after six strong innings of work. Things looked promising for the fans who braved the elements Monday on a night filled with intense excitement and emotion.
But, in Cubs fashion, things got interesting. Reliever Carl Edwards Jr. loaded the bases to open the seventh, thanks to a pair of walks and a catcher’s interference call. With the bases full of Dodgers, in stepped Justin Grimm.
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The right-hander quickly induced a Joc Pederson pop-out, followed by a dramatic 4-6-3 inning-ending double play, preserving the 2-1 Chicago lead late.
Another strong start from Lester
In his second start of the season, the Chicago southpaw was sharp, allowing one run on four hits across six innings of work, striking out seven.
He and his new personal catcher Willson Contreras looked much more in-sync this time around. Lester rarely shook off his battery mate and worked efficiently, setting now 10-straight at one point.
Lester, who finished second in NL Cy Young voting last season, lowered his ERA to 1.64 on the season with his strong performance. He also drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the fourth on a fielder’s choice.
Offense failed to capitalize multiple times
On multiple occasions, Chicago (5-2) had the chance to break things wide open – but failed to do so. Reigning MVP Kris Bryant, who opened the scoring with an early double, left the bases loaded late – a troubling trend we’ve seen early this year.
Thankfully, the pitching was on-point, bailing out the offense. Cubs hitters went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position Monday – with the lone hit winning the game.
A special night for Wrigley faithful
For the first time in the century-plus history of Wrigley Field, a championship banner was hoisted into the air.
Joining flags commemorating the 1907 and 1908 World Series titles, the team added pennants from the National League title and World Series championship to the left and right of the iconic center field scoreboard.
Cubs Hall of Famers Ryne Sandberg, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins all played big roles in the pregame ceremony honoring the World Champs. Each hoisted a pennant into the air in the bleachers and the trio teamed up for a memorable seventh-inning stretch.
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Chicago (5-2) and Los Angeles (4-4) enjoy an off-day on Tuesday. The two teams will continue their series on Wednesday at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs will receive their World Series rings prior to the game. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.