Heyward hot, but Cubs fall on walk-off

June 27th, 2021

LOS ANGELES -- The Cubs suffered their second consecutive loss to the Dodgers on Saturday as Cody Bellinger hit a walk-off home run against reliever Keegan Thompson.

The 3-2 defeat at Dodger Stadium left the Cubs wondering if things would have been different if a home run call hadn't been overturned against them just a couple of innings earlier.

has been an offensive force for the Cubs in the past week. For a moment in the seventh inning, he was the Cubs’ hero.

Heyward collected three hits in four at-bats against the Dodgers on Saturday. For a moment, he appeared to have a homer to shift the momentum in the Cubs’ favor.

On the fifth pitch of his third at-bat, Heyward drilled a line drive to the left-field corner against Dodgers reliever Garrett Cleavinger. Third-base umpire D.J. Reyburn pointed his index finger to the sky, signaling a home run.

At that moment, the Cubs pulled ahead of the Dodgers with a 3-2 lead. But the umpiring crew convened after Heyward crossed home plate and overturned the initial ruling to a foul ball. The Cubs challenged that foul call, but a replay review confirmed the ball was foul.

“Originally, I thought the ball went around the pole,” Reyburn said, according to a pool report. “I had doubts on the original call, so I wanted to get together with the crew. Based on the information they gave me, I wanted to change it.”

Heyward reappeared from the dugout and stepped back in the batter’s box on a 1-2 count with the game tied at 2. He connected on a 96.8 mph fastball and singled up the middle of the infield for his third hit.

“I trust in the video,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “I mean, it's hard to see from my vantage point. It looked like a home run. He called it a home run. They got together and conversed, and I guess they overturned it.

“It’s a boundaries call. We can check to see if the home run was fair or foul. It was a boundaries check to make sure it was confirmed that it was foul. I guess the umpires got together, concluded, they overturned the home run call to foul.”

Heyward was erased on a double play, and the game remained tied, 2-2, until Bellinger struck with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning against Thompson. Heyward described the moments on the field following the fifth pitch of his seventh-inning at-bat, saying the angle of the ball and shadows on the field made it difficult to see.

“I never saw it,” Heyward said of the ball that was ruled foul. “I never saw the ball actually leave. I didn't see where it landed, I didn't see what it hit. I still haven't seen the replay yet, after the game at this point. As far as them looking at it, I guess they had to look at what they had to look at.

"It was part of the game, something that happens. I was able to get on base after that. [It's] a game of inches or I don't know, it could be centimeters, millimeters.”

Over the past week, Heyward has been the Cubs’ best hitter in the midst of the team’s offensive slump. The offense has batted below .150 since mid-June, leading to eight losses in 12 games. But Heyward has been seeing the ball well.

“Keep it simple as possible, just give 100% of what I have on every single pitch,” Heyward said. “It allows me to see the ball in the zone and be aggressive there, no matter what happens.”

The outfielder has recorded seven hits and has scored three runs in the first three games of the series in Los Angeles. Heyward has batted .455 over his past eight games. He struck out only twice in that time while drawing four walks and scoring five runs.

In his first at-bat Saturday, Heyward singled to second baseman Zach McKinstry, who was positioned deep into the shift. Heyward continued his tear in the fifth inning with a double to left field for his first extra-base hit of the series.

“I just want to keep building, keep pushing,” Heyward said. “Obviously, today was a good day. We're facing some good pitching in the series as a group. It's nice to help out.”