CHICAGO -- The Pirates couldn't keep the Cubs away from home plate all night, not after both clock hands on the Wrigley Field scoreboard pointed straight up and Monday gave way to Tuesday. But for a while, it seemed like they might.
Twice in extra innings, Pittsburgh managed to keep Javier Báez from scoring what would have been the game-winning run on a play at the plate. But it wasn't enough, as the Cubs eventually stormed back to win, 8-7, in 13 innings.
"That just shows what this game was about," Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison said. "Neither team giving in. Taking chances on both sides of the ball."
And what does it reveal about the Cubs that they hung around and won the knock-down, drag-out affair after those two setbacks?
"We're not going to stop playing hard," Baez said. "This is a team that's trying to win the World Series and we're not going to give up, no matter how many runs we're up or down."
When the game went into extra innings, it fell to Pirates left-hander Jeff Locke, a starter bumped into a multi-inning relief role earlier this month. Pittsburgh had no safety net for Locke, having used five relievers before him with two others unavailable.
So when Locke toed the rubber to face one of the Majors' best run producers with the game on the line, he had to escape or walk off the mound. So with one out in the 10th inning, Locke intentionally walked Kris Bryant to load the bases and bring up Anthony Rizzo.
Rizzo worked a 2-1 count, fouled off three pitches then chopped Locke's seventh pitch down the first-base line. Sean Rodríguez, brought in as a defensive replacement, snagged it, stepped on first base and flung the ball to Francisco Cervelli at the plate.
Baez slid home, arms outstretched. Cervelli reached across the plate to snag Rodriguez's throw, which was slightly off-line and right of home plate, and tagged Baez. Both Rizzo and Baez were initially ruled out, allowing Locke to escape the inning. But the Cubs asked for a replay review of both outs.
As the packed crowd at Wrigley Field chanted, "Safe! Safe! Safe!" crew chief Bill Miller removed his headset, pointed to first base and signaled that Rizzo was out. Miller then pointed toward the plate and signaled for the second out, giving Pittsburgh another chance.
Rizzo's out was confirmed after a review, while replay officials determined that the call at home plate should stand.
"I don't know about the view, but I felt I got in there," Baez said. "I thought I got in there."
Two innings later, Baez again found himself reaching for the plate and waiting for a replay.
Baez tripled to right-center off Locke with one out in the 12th, moving back within 90 feet of a walk-off win. Addison Russell knocked Locke's eighth pitch to left field. Starling Marte settled under it, secured the second out and unleashed the throw home.
Baez slid toward the plate, but the Gold Glove left fielder's throw gave Cervelli plenty of time to grab the ball and tag out Baez for the third out.
Miller called for a crew-chief review of the plate, but the call was confirmed and Marte officially locked down his 17th outfield assist, tied with Adam Eaton for the Major League lead.
"They're plays that you've got to take if you're their offense. You've got to try to score a run, take a chance that everything's done perfectly," Locke said. "And in our case, it was, twice."