With the bases loaded and one out in the 10th inning, the rookie third baseman didn't try to do too much. He watched ball four sail high and inside. Game over. The Cubs had completed a comeback win for the eighth time in nine games, this time a 6-5 walk-off victory over the Reds in the rubber game on Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
"He's got a very mature way about him," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "On the field, he plays very calmly with open eyes. He sees things."
Perhaps the most consequential and bizarre play came one batter earlier as Addison Russell reached on Joey Votto's error with runners already on first and second. The veteran Reds first baseman fielded a soft grounder, but he bobbled the ball as he stepped on the bag. Originally ruled an out, the call was overturned after a crew-chief review.
Votto's blunder may have changed the situation, but for Bote, the moment was the same one he'd been preparing for his whole life.
"As soon as it happened, I was already thinking about the situation, open base, guy behind me," Bote said. "Once I saw the replay and realized he was going to be safe, I had to change my plan."
The Cubs led, 5-4, to start the ninth, but Adam Duvall tied it with a leadoff homer that traveled a projected 418 feet, according to Statcast™, off closer Brandon Morrow. It was Morrow's second blown save of the season.
Chicago has now won the last eight games started by Jon Lester. However, the veteran left-hander was credited with a no-decision, which snapped his personal winning streak in consecutive starts at seven.
Lester labored through the early innings, but he was removed with one out in the seventh and the Reds leading, 4-3. Pedro Strop recorded the final two outs in the inning before the Cubs took the lead in the bottom half.
The walk-off win was the Cubs' 28th comeback victory of the season, which is tied with the Phillies for the most in Major League Baseball.
"We don't lose hope," Javier Baez said.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED Trailing by a run in the seventh with runners on the corners, Baez ripped a two-run single to center to put the Cubs ahead, 5-4. Jason Heyward, who was running on the pitch, caught the Reds' defense off guard and scored from first base on the play.
Center fielder Billy Hamilton didn't think Heyward was going to try to score, so he lobbed the ball back in to Scooter Gennett. By the time Gennett could turn and throw home, it was too late.
"I was telling [Ben Zobrist] that it's hard to get two hits with two outs, especially in the same inning. So right there, I was looking for any opportunity I had," Heyward said. "[Hamilton] didn't do anything wrong necessarily, it was just a hustle play."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS Hamilton badgered the Cubs all weekend, and the fifth inning on Sunday epitomized why he can be such a headache for opposing teams. He walked with two outs, then stole second. Willson Contreras' throw sailed into center field, allowing Hamilton to go to third.
But Hamilton didn't stop there as he rounded the bag and headed for home when Albert Almora Jr. bobbled the ball. His acrobatic leap over Contreras at the plate put the Reds ahead, 4-3. The center fielder reached base in nine of his 12 plate appearances in the three-game series.
UP NEXT Right-hander Kyle Hendricks will be looking for his first win since June 16 when the Cubs open a three-game series against the Giants at 9:15 p.m. CT on Monday at AT&T Park. Hendricks is 1-5 in his past seven starts. He's struggled with his fastball command although he felt a little better after his last start against the Tigers, when he gave up three runs over five innings. The Giants will counter with Andrew Suarez.
Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.