Cubs' comeback gene on display in decisive 6th
CHICAGO -- It was a familiar feeling for the Cubs, who came from behind to win another contest. But this one didn't come with the dramatics of a ninth-inning rally or the flair of a home run. Really, it was simple and overlooked.
A two-run sixth inning capping a comeback from two down may not have attracted the same attention in Chicago's 5-3 win over the Braves on Friday at Wrigley Field, but it still had the same effect. And with 42 games remaining in the regular season and their first playoff berth since 2008 becoming more of a reality by the day, the Cubs know the value of that inning.
"It exemplifies, typifies that we do not quit," said manager Joe Maddon. "You had to fight through a lot of little adverse baseball moments there, and we did."
Added catcher Miguel Montero: "We know that if we're down in the score we're going to come back at some point, and that's part of the confidence, part of the winning attitude. It feels great."
It's hard for the Cubs to not appreciate the comeback victories, after they were 0-79 last season when they trailed entering the ninth inning. This year, the Cubs already have 11 walk-off wins.
The decisive sixth inning on Friday didn't come down to one swing of the bat -- rather it used a string of three at-bats to turn the game around. In the first five innings, the Cubs had mustered just two hits off Braves starter Shelby Miller as he worked ahead in the count. Each time they came close, Miller shut the door.
But with one out in the sixth, first baseman Anthony Rizzo began the comeback when he worked a six-pitch walk.
Third baseman Kris Bryant followed by striking the first pitch he saw for a double to left field, scoring Rizzo to tie the game at 3. Montero then pounced on the first pitch he saw with a double off the center-field wall to knock in the go-ahead run.
"We're seeing a lot of pitches, not really swinging at pitchers' pitches, making them work a little bit," Bryant said. "I think if we do that, then you're more likely to get a pitch that we can handle.
"It's a good feeling [to come back]. We've done it a lot this year, and I think that makes a good team -- the ability to come from behind."
Rizzo later hit an RBI single in the seventh inning to provide some insurance, but by then, the Cubs' bullpen was in the midst of four scoreless innings to keep the game in hand.
"Things started to come together and we started doing a little better job," Montero said. "It was definitely a good victory and we have to keep riding it."