MILWAUKEE -- There were two plays at first base, one at third and one at home plate, plus a near home run to boot. The Cubs and Brewers kept Major League Baseball's replay center busy while they battled for the National League Central on Thursday night at Miller Park.Five times
MILWAUKEE -- There were two plays at first base, one at third and one at home plate, plus a near home run to boot. The Cubs and Brewers kept Major League Baseball's replay center busy while they battled for the National League Central on Thursday night at Miller Park.
Five times on the way to the Cubs' 5-3 win in 10 innings crew chief Dana DeMuth donned the headset near the visitors' dugout. Here's a rundown of the close plays that dotted a thriller:
Third inning: Crew's consolation prize
The Cubs took a 2-0 lead on Anthony Rizzo's single through the right side of the infield off Milwaukee starter Zach Davies, but the Brewers were able to get an out on the play. Catcher Stephen Vogt stepped in front of the plate for right fielder Domingo Santana's high throw home and fired a strike to third base, where Travis Shaw applied two tags -- one as Kristopher Bryant slid in safely and another when it appeared he lost contact with the bag. The initial call was safe, but that was overturned after Brewers manager Craig Counsell challenged.
Fifth inning: Cubs turn two
It was the Cubs' turn in the fifth, when they turned a beautiful, replay-aided, 3-6-1 double play on Neil Walker. Walker -- who was coming off well-struck singles in his first two at-bats and batting with one out and two aboard for the Brewers' only at-bat with a runner in scoring position against Cubs starter Jacob Arrieta -- ripped a ball down to Rizzo and was initially called safe at first base. But replays showed shortstop Addison Russell's throw to a covering Arrieta was in time, and Arrieta got his foot on the bag.
"That double play, Neil Walker in the fifth, Rizzo, great play," Arrieta said. "They were able to make a good transfer. I had an idea where the bag was and I just wanted to receive the throw and give myself a chance to be in line with the bag. There were so many plays tonight that could've been the turning point."
Ninth inning: Happ's hustle
Fill-in Brewers closer Jeremy Jeffress inherited a 3-2 lead but found immediate trouble when he was slow covering first base on Ian Happ's infield hit leading off the ninth. Jeffress initially thought it would be second baseman Eric Sogard's ball, but first baseman Walker fielded it instead as Jeffress tried to make up for lost time. The call stood upon review after the Brewers challenged, and it changed the game by extending the inning long enough for Javier Baez to deliver a tying two-out RBI single that sent the game to extra innings.
"It felt a little slow at the end, so I don't know if JJ was a little bit late," Counsell said. "I have to look at the play again. Happ hustled down the line. It was a bang-bang play."
"That's respecting 90 right there," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Happ's hustle. "It looked to me as though whatever the call was on the field would be the call. That's why the call on the field is so important. I told [Happ] that when he came in the dugout. We have to do that all year long. This time of year, when you don't do that, it stands out. I'm really proud of him."
According to Statcast™, Happ sprinted to first base in 4.07 seconds, his fastest time in a non-bunt situation.
"A play like that, in that situation, you hit a ball like that, you put your head down and go as hard as you can," Happ said. "Thankfully, I beat him to the bag. I think that's the fastest I've run, biggest situation I've had to get down the line."
10th inning: Two in one
The final frame included two crew-chief reviews, including one that took a Cubs insurance run off the scoreboard. First, the umpires checked whether Rizzo's triple had cleared the fence (it did not), then went to the headsets again to look at Rizzo being called safe at home plate on Happ's fielder's-choice grounder.
The result of the overturned call was a double play for the Brewers, with Rizzo out on the tag at home.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.