5 key moments in Cubs' walk-off sweep of LA

May 6th, 2021

CHICAGO -- This was supposed to be 's day off. Instead, there was the veteran Cubs first baseman, sprinting through a mob of his teammates, trying to escape down the dugout steps to avoid the celebratory jabs and the cloud of baby powder.

In the 11th inning on Wednesday night, Rizzo delivered a two-out, two-strike, walk-off single through the left side of the infield, sealing a 6-5 win for the Cubs that completed a three-game sweep of the Dodgers. This was supposed to be a litmus-test series and the North Siders' confidence is soaring.

"Honestly, we're just riding a roller coaster right now," said Rizzo, who came off the bench in the 10th. "We're up and down, up and down, up and down. One thing is, when we're down, we keep fighting to get back up."

Coming off a 2-7 road trip, the Cubs were staring down a series with the defending World Series champions that featured Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer and Walker Buehler. Chicago pulled off a doubleheader sweep Tuesday, and finished the series with consecutive walk-off wins against the Dodgers for the first time since 1958.

"It's a huge confidence boost," Cubs utility man said. "I think it kind of reaffirms what we believe in the clubhouse -- that we're a high-quality team, that we're capable of doing things like we did against them."

Here is a look at five moments that mattered leading up to Rizzo's game-winning hit in Wednesday's win:

1. Cubs unable to turn two
In the top of the 11th, the Dodgers had runners on the corners with one out, when Matt Beaty chopped an pitch to Rizzo up the first-base line. Rizzo gloved the ball, but opted not to step on first base. He threw to shortstop , who got a forceout at second.

That is where the play ended. Báez did not fire the ball back to Rizzo, who was trying to begin a 3-6-3 double play to end the inning. Max Muncy scored from third to put the Cubs behind, 5-4, on a play that looked costly in the moment.

"I knew if I stepped on the base and went home, it would've been do or die," Rizzo explained. "And so, I actually kind of tightroped first base, not touching it purposely to just get the double play, 6-3. But, I don't think Javy saw that. As a baserunner, in that situation, I probably would've just stopped halfway [between first and second], because if I did do that, the run would score.

"So, I tried to just go for the 6-3 and I probably should've been screaming, 'One, one, one!' Usually, if I step on the bag, you're yelling, 'Tag, tag, tag!' It just didn't work out."

2. Duffy delivers in 11th
Dodgers lefty Garrett Cleavinger struck out and (the walk-off hero in Game 2 on Tuesday) with the automatic runner standing on second base to begin the 11th. That set things up for Duffy, who had already reached base three times, but kept in mind that he had taken two first-pitch fastballs for strikes earlier in the game.

"I was a little behind on some fastballs," Duffy said. "So, I thought with Cleavinger, he's got a pretty good fastball. I thought he would try to get ahead early with that. I had taken some first-pitch fastballs pretty much right down the middle tonight, so I was just kind of looking for that. Tried to hit it right back at him."

Duffy got the first-pitch heater he was seeking and the veteran lined it into center field for his third hit of the game. hustled around from second to score, pulling the game into a 5-5 deadlock.

3. A perfect relay
has willingly moved all over the diamond as a defender for manager David Ross. That has recently included center, where Bryant found himself in the 10th inning on Wednesday.

In a 3-3 ballgame, Muncy crushed a pitch from Mills off the bricks and ivy in left-center for a go-ahead double. Justin Turner tried to score from first on the play, but Bryant played the ball off the wall and made a quick throw to Báez, who got it to Contreras at the plate in time for a bang-bang, inning-ending out.

"Great relay, playing that carom for Kris," Ross said. "Having that angle on the baseball was huge. ... I thought that was one of the best relays we've had since I've been here, for sure, and that I can remember for a while. That was a nice, game-saving relay."

4. Joc's sac fly celebration
It would have been poetic for to launch a walk-off homer against his old team. For a moment in the 10th, the Cubs' outfielder sure looked like he thought he delivered.

With Duffy on third, Pederson launched a Kenley Jansen offering high and deep over right field. The former Dodger flipped his bat and turned to the Chicago dugout, letting out a howl. The wind knocked the ball down for a sacrifice fly, which did at least plate Duffy to knot the score, 4-4.

"When you hit home runs here into this wind," Rizzo said, "they've got to be low and you've got to cut the wind. When you clip them a little too high, that wind works magic and it just pulls the parachute on balls. But, I mean, he got the runner in and got me over. So, it worked out."

5. Tepera's escape act
After a strong five-inning, seven-strikeout performance by -- who experienced dizziness upon his exit, but was examined and reported feeling fine postgame -- took over and loaded the bases in the sixth. Ross then turned to righty , who limited L.A. to a sac fly off the bat of Will Smith.

"Big pitching. Great performance by Ryan Tepera," Ross said. "I don't think everything's as pretty as we want it, but we continue to battle against a really good team and come away with a big win there."