The Chicago Cubs trailed the San Francisco Giants 5-2 entering the ninth inning of last night’s Game 4. They needed a historic comeback to avoid flying back home for a winner-take-all game on Thursday. And they got it.
The Cubs’ four-run frame secured a 6-5 victory and a spot in the National League Championship Series. It matched the largest ninth-inning comeback in playoff history (New York Mets vs. Houston Astros in 1986) and effectively snapped the Giants’ even-year streak.
Kris Bryant led off with a single and Anthony Rizzo worked a walk. Ben Zobrist then doubled down the right field line to make it 5-3. Wilson Contreras, pinch-hitting for Chris Coghlan, evened things with a two-run single.
The Giants had a chance to turn Jason Heyward’s sacrifice bunt attempt into a double play, but shortstop Brandon Crawford’s throwing error allowed Javier Baez to step to the plate with the go-ahead run at second.
Baez, who has made a name for himself on the national stage during this series, continued his hot play by singling in the decisive run with a ground ball back through the box.
Aroldis Chapman closed the door in the bottom of the inning as the stunned Bay Area crowd looked on.
The Cubs still need eight victories to secure the franchise’s first World Series title since 1908. The road ahead will be tough. But the fact they were able to turn a situation growing more dire by the out into the feel-good win of the year is yet another sign these Cubbies are not like the Cubbies who came before.
With their backs up against the wall, they fought back in historic fashion.
If, and it’s a big if, this is the team to break the curse, they will do it with confidence and fearlessness. It’d be foolish to think they’ll quiver or be knock-kneed in future big moments. That type of behavior doesn’t fit this club’s DNA.