CHICAGO -- David Bote (Boat) is making a habit of hitting clutch home runs.Daniel Murphy (Murph) knocked a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning, but his ballclub needed Bote to deliver the game-winner with a walk-off homer in the 10th inning to give the Cubs a 3-2 win over the
CHICAGO -- David Bote (Boat) is making a habit of hitting clutch home runs.
Daniel Murphy (Murph) knocked a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning, but his ballclub needed Bote to deliver the game-winner with a walk-off homer in the 10th inning to give the Cubs a 3-2 win over the Reds on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field to open Players' Weekend.
:: Players' Weekend presented by Valspar Stain ::
• Shop Players' Weekend Cubs gear
"It's great," Bote said. "All we're trying to do is come here and win ballgames."
Bote connected on an 0-2 slider from Raisel Iglesias (El Ciclon) with one out, as the Cubs improved to 3-0 since Murphy joined the team. It marked the club's sixth walk-off win this season and Bote's second walk-off hit -- he blasted a walk-off grand slam on Aug. 12 against the Nationals.
"This is one of those habitual things we'll take," Cubs manager Joe Maddon (Pino) said. "Wow. He didn't miss it. When a pitcher makes a mistake like that, you don't take it, you don't foul it off, you just can't miss it."
Bote's grand slam also came on an 0-2 pitch.
"[My teammates] have said stuff about that -- 'Just use your two-strike swing always,'" Bote said. "It's just hunting spots on pitches, and I was able to get a barrel on it."
All five of Bote's home runs this year have either tied the game or given the Cubs the lead. Friday's blast was welcome for the rookie, who was 4-for-29 before the home run.
"Every single guy in this game has gone through that, so it's not any different for me," Bote said of his struggles at the plate. "A shout-out to [Brandon] Kintzler (Salt). He said, 'Dude, just be you. You belong here. Just be one of the guys. I can't imagine how hard it is to come down from what happened against the Nationals, but you belong here and you're a good player, and just stick to what you do.'"
Bote had heard that from others, but for some reason, it clicked when Kintzler said it.
"In that situation, he's the kind of guy who has ice in his veins and has that 'it' factor," teammate Benjamin Zobrist (Zorilla) said. "The pitcher made one mistake and he took advantage of it. He's been a hero for us recently. Hopefully he can continue doing that for us and we keep winning games."
Murphy did just what the Cubs wanted in the eighth. Acquired from the Nationals to provide an offensive spark, he launched the first pitch he saw from Jared Hughes (Robot) into the right-field bleachers for his first homer with the team to take a 2-1 lead.
Eugenio Suarez (Nicolle) tied the game with a leadoff home run in the ninth against Pedro Strop (Stropy).
Matt Harvey (Harv) justified the Reds' decision to keep him with 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball. The Brewers had claimed Harvey off waivers on Wednesday and the two teams had until 12:30 p.m. CT Friday to finalize a deal. Harvey did start and faced the minimum over five frames, permitting just Alec Mills' (Millsy) first Major League knock, a single in the third.
"I think my eyes might have been closed," Mills said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Trailing 1-0, the Cubs loaded the bases in the sixth and tied the game on an RBI single by Javier Baez (El Mago), which chased Harvey. Anthony Rizzo (Tony) hit a comebacker to Cody Reed (Goggles), who threw to catcher Tucker Barnhart (Barney) for the force at home. Rizzo was called safe at first despite Barnhart's ensuing throw to first baseman Brandon Dixon (B Dix), but the Reds challenged the ruling and after a review, it was overturned.
MILLS' SOLID START
Mills struck out eight and allowed one run over 5 2/3 innings in his first Major League start after being promoted from Triple-A Iowa, when Tyler Chatwood (Chatty) went on the disabled list with left hip tightness.
"I think it's just come up here and do what I can for today and whatever happens after that happens," Mills said. "I just wanted to come up here and eat as many innings as possible and give us a chance to win."
When Mike Montgomery (Monty) returns, he'll be inserted into the rotation. But Maddon said Mills also could stick.
"Alec permitted us to think different thoughts," Maddon said, hinting at a possible six-man rotation.
A 22nd-round Draft pick in 2012 by the Royals, Mills was a walk-on at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He wasn't considering pursuing a baseball career out of high school, but he went to the walk-on tryouts anyway and made the team. At Iowa this season, he went 5-12 with a 4.98 ERA in 23 starts.
Bote joins Kristopher Bryant (2015) and Gabby Hartnett (1923) as the only Cubs rookies with multiple walk-off home runs. Bote is the third rookie in MLB history with multiple walk-off homers in a single month, joining Chris Young in June 2007 and Luke Easter in September 1950.
Bote also is the first Cubs hitter with multiple walk-off home runs in a single August since Ernie Banks (Mr. Cub) did so in 1960.
Mills is the first pitcher with at least eight strikeouts and a base hit in his first Major League start since Jackson Stephens did so in July 2017 against the Cubs. The previous pitcher to do that? Harvey in July 2012 against the D-backs.
HE SAID IT
"I don't know what that is. I experienced it in the Minor Leagues, playing playoff baseball, and I've been to World Series and NLDS games here [as a fan] and I know what that vibe is like. We're still in the mindset of, 'How can we win today?' That's all that's on the mind, that's all that's talked about." -- Bote, when asked if he felt as if he was playing in a pennant race
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Mason Williams (Mase) thought he hit a home run to lead off the Reds' second. Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber (Schwarbs) didn't think so, and the umpires checked the video. Turns out, the ball hit the knob of the metal support rods that extend from the outfield wall and hold up the basket that rims the wall. After the crew-chief review, Williams was awarded a double and later scored on a double by Phillip Ervin (Magic). It's just one of the quirks of Wrigley Field.
"I saw [Schwarber] waving at me and I don't know [what happened] from that distance," Maddon said. "That's a crew-chief review. There's no onus on us to be right or wrong, and they did the right thing and got it right."
Added Mills: "It's maybe the first time I've ever seen that, hitting off the basket, off the knob. You think you've seen it all, and you see something new. It was kind of funny." More >
Jose Quintana (Lelo) will start the third game of this four-game series. Quintana is 1-2 with a 4.84 ERA in four August starts. The lefty (10-9, 4.36 ERA) has faced the Reds twice this year at Great American Ball Park and is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA, giving up four earned runs over 12 innings. He's 5-3 with a 5.00 ERA at Wrigley Field. Cincinnati will counter with Luis Castillo (7-10, 4.86). First pitch from Wrigley Field is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.