CHICAGO -- Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath promised Cubs manager Joe Maddon a Cubs win on Wednesday night, and Anthony Rizzo went a step further and predicted Jason Heyward would hit a walk-off grand slam just a "nano-second" before it happened. But the best moment came later in the
CHICAGO -- Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath promised Cubs manager Joe Maddon a Cubs win on Wednesday night, and Anthony Rizzo went a step further and predicted Jason Heyward would hit a walk-off grand slam just a "nano-second" before it happened. But the best moment came later in the Cubs' clubhouse between Heyward and hitting coach Chili Davis, who gave the outfielder a bear hug.
Davis has been working with Heyward since taking over the job this offseason, and with two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth inning at Wrigley Field against Phillies lefty Adam Morgan, everything clicked.
Heyward launched his first career walk-off home run and third career grand slam to power the Cubs to a 7-5 come-from-behind victory over the Phillies.
"Special moments find special people, and that was one of them today," Chicago's Kyle Schwarber said.
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
Trailing 5-3 in the ninth, Seranthony Dominguez walked Schwarber, the first free pass issued by the right-hander this season. One out later, Schwarber moved up on an errant throw by catcher Jorge Alfaro, who tried to pick off Schwarber at first. Schwarber advanced on Albert Almora Jr.'s single to center, which chased Dominguez. Morgan walked pinch-hitter Ian Happ to load the bases, and Schwarber was forced out at home on Benjamin Zobrist's comebacker.
Heyward then launched a 2-2 fastball into the right-field bleachers for the game-winner.
"First of all, Joe [Namath] guaranteed the win before the game," Maddon said of the legendary quarterback who was a guest at the game. "Second of all, the ball was on our own 45 [yard line], no time outs left. He goes right, Hail Mary, and we got the touchdown. I think it was appropriate Joe Willie was here to witness that game."
Cory Mazzoni earned his first big league win in relief after some rough moments for Steve Cishek and Brandon Morrow, two of the Cubs' most reliable relievers.
"I asked Cory, 'Have you ever had a Major League win?' and he said, 'No.' I said, 'You're going to get your first one tonight,'" Maddon said. "Rizzo was better than me. He had talked, talked, talked on the bench. I'm saying, 'C'mon, just a base hit or double down the line' and he said, 'No, how about a walk-off grand slam,' like a nano-second before it occurred. That's baseball."
Aaron Altherr had tied the game with a three-run homer in the Phillies' sixth off Cishek -- a matchup Maddon liked better than having Altherr face starter Jose Quintana. In the Phillies' ninth, Dylan Cozens golfed a 2-1 fastball from Morrow into the basket rimming the left-field bleachers.
"They were all good matchups and the hitters came through," Maddon said.
Quintana struck out a season-high 10 batters and was pulled with a 3-0 lead, two outs and two on in the Phillies' sixth. Cishek then hung a pitch and Altherr didn't miss, tying the game at 3.
"I would've been more upset with myself had I left Quintana in and [Altherr] hit a three-run homer, as opposed to what we did. We did the right thing, and it worked out that way," Maddon said. "It was the right thing to do."
Heyward has been trying to get right since he signed an eight-year contract with the Cubs in December 2015. In 16 games since Heyward returned from the concussion disabled list, he's batting .321.
"Things do seem a little more clear," Heyward said. "I keep saying it, but I'm trying to keep it simple, one at-bat, one pitch at a time, trying to make adjustments on the fly. It's much easier said than done. I got a pitch to hit there and didn't miss it. Pitchers don't make many mistakes. I got one off a guy who's really good and has good numbers and didn't miss it."
Maddon sees it.
"Right now, what he's doing mechanically at the plate, I like as well as any moment that I've seen him here with the Cub uniform on," Maddon said. "He's made some adjustments, and I like them. They look good. Something like this hopefully generates some confidence moving forward. He's such a good baseball player and so solid with all the other guys. Hopefully this will really project."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Scoreboard-watching: Nola had not given up a home run to a left-handed batter this season entering Wednesday's game. Rizzo became the first when he led off the second with his ninth home run, launching a 92.4 mph fastball 415 feet to right that struck the Wrigley Field video board. The ball had an exit velocity of 106.7 mph, per Statcast™, but didn't appear to break any of the lights.
Wake-up call:Kristopher Bryant didn't make as much noise as Rizzo, but he had the same impact in the Cubs' fourth. He walked to lead off, and the Phillies then shifted the infield to the right side during Rizzo's at-bat. Rizzo walked, and Bryant moved up to second but saw no one covering third base, so he took off and swiped the bag. Bryant then scored on Willson Contreras' single to put the Cubs ahead 2-0. One out later, Javier Baez hit a sacrifice fly to right for his National League-leading 46th RBI.
Wednesday marked the Cubs' first walk-off grand slam since July 27, 2009, when Alfonso Soriano did so against the Astros. It also was the Cubs' first walk-off homer when trailing since Bryant connected on July 27, 2015, against the Rockies.
The home run off Cishek was the first he has allowed since July 22, 2017, against the Yankees, snapping a streak of 53 straight innings without giving one up. Cozens' homer off Morrow ended a streak of 71 consecutive innings without a home run for the reliever, the longest active streak in the Major Leagues.
HE SAID IT
"He's a huge part of this team. He's a guy who you can go up to and talk to. He's going to give you his honest opinion. For him to be out there on the field and do what he does out there in the outfield and what he's doing at the plate, it's phenomenal. He's a great human being." -- Schwarber, on Heyward
Tyler Chatwood will get the start for the Cubs' series finale against the Phillies on Thursday at 1:20 p.m. CT. The right-hander didn't get the win in his last start, but he was able to get back on track. Chatwood, who leads the Majors in walks, issued four in his last outing but still held the Mets to two runs in 5 1/3 innings. He's 2-3 with a 5.33 ERA at Wrigley Field. Nick Pivetta starts for the Phillies.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.