Fly the W: Tauchman walks off White Sox in Cubs win
Kamil Krzaczynski - USA Today Sports

Fly the W: Tauchman walks off White Sox in Cubs win


by - Senior Writer -

CHICAGO - Even though it is baseball and strange things can happen, there are some series that you must win as a team. This brief two-game stint with the Chicago White Sox (15-47) at Wrigley Field was one of those series for the Chicago Cubs (31-31) as they are in the middle of a very winnable stretch of games.

With the Milwaukee Brewers losing again to the Philadelphia Phillies, the Cubs had a chance to make up some more ground in the standings, which is all you can ask for at this point in the season. Despite entering the game with a league-worst record and riding a 12-game losing streak, which is the longest in over 100 years, as you have seen so many times before, nothing comes easy when these two teams meet on the diamond.

For the second straight night, it was the White Sox striking early and often as the Cubs again had to play from behind and were trailing at 5-1 entering the sixth. Then came the White Sox bullpen, which has been even worse than the Cubs pen, if you can believe that, as the Cubs scored three times in the seventh inning without picking up a hit only to give up the lead right away in the eighth. All was not lost, however, as the Palentine Pounder Mike Tauchman got the last laugh taking the second pitch he saw from Michael Koepech over the left field wall to deliver the Cubs a walk-off 7-6 win.

After putting together four very good starts to begin his season, Jameson Taillon's last four starts have been a struggle, which continued on Wednesday. From a command side of things, Taillon was very good, walking one and striking out six in five innings, but it was the other part of his outing that stood out, as he was lit up for 10 hits and five earned runs to raise his ERA to 3.47.

Opposing him was Erick Fedde, who has quietly put together an all-star caliber start to his season. Posting one of the best home ERAs in baseball, Fedde also has one of the worst road ERAs in baseball, which didn't bode well for him in this start. You wouldn't have guessed that by his outing in this one, as he gave the Sox five solid innings of three-run ball, walking none and striking out seven.

It took just one pitch for the White Sox to take the lead as Corey Julks turned on the Taillon heater and took it out of the yard to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. Their lead didn't last long as Christopher Morel led the bottom of the second off with a single before coming home on the Nico Hoerner Fielder's Choice. Singles from Michael Busch and Dansby Swanson loaded the bases with one out, but after failing to add on, you had to wonder if that would come back and bite this team.

Like the Cubs, the White Sox wasted an opportunity to tack on in the third, but once the fourth inning rolled around, their offense started to make life miserable for Taillon on the bump. Singles from Gavin Sheets and Andrew Vaughn led things off to set the offense up before Oscar Colas tacked on another single to put the Sox up 2-1. Singles were the theme of the inning for the Sox, with Korey Lee, Lenyn Sosa, and Nicky Lopez all getting in on the fun as the White Sox pushed across three more runs to plate four in that inning and opened up a massive 5-1 lead.

At some point, this Cubs team has to stop falling behind early, but if you can find ways to win when you are trailing, it shouldn't matter. That has been the case over their past two victories, as their offense is starting to show signs of life at the plate. Trailing by four in the fifth, Swanson kicked things off with a leadoff single only to have Tauchman and Seiya Suzuki add a pair of singles to load the bases again with one out.

Last time the Cubs were in this situation, they were unable to do damage, but with Cody Bellinger picking up an RBI forceout ahead of the Fedde balk, the Cubs managed to cut the deficit in half as they now trailed 5-3. In what was now becoming a battle of the bullpens to begin the sixth, Porter Hodge was the first out of the pen as his strong start to his MLB continued before he gave way to Drew Smyly.

Smyly found himself in a massive jam in the seventh, but did find a way to pitch out of trouble which is all you can ask for at this level. Following the Fedde outing, it was time for Michael Soroka to take the ball as he tossed a flawless sixth before running into massive trouble in the seventh. Aided by a balk, four walks, and a hit by pitch, the Cubs managed to tie the game with Tauchman scoring on a wild pitch and Bellinger delivering the sacrifice fly.

Later on, the inning saw Ian Happ come through for the second straight game as his broken-bat flare to center brought home the go-ahead run and had the Cubs in front 6-5 with just six outs to go. Hoping to keep things right where they were, Hayden Wesneski was on to pitch the eighth, and right off the bat, it was the Sox tying things back up as Paul DeJong got a slider to his liking and parked it deep into the Wrigley Field night to make things 6-6.

That would be the final run of the game for the White Sox as the Cubs had two more chances to win this game late. All it took for the Cubs to snatch the victory from the White Sox was two pitches from Kopech as Tauchman took a 98 MPH heater the opposite way and put it just over the left-center field basket to give the Cubs another comeback win 7-6. It was the first career walk-off homer by Tauchman, who was slumping significantly heading into this game.

The Cubs had eight hits in the game, and Tauchman and Swanson led the way with two. The Cubs will now play seven games on the road, starting Thursday night against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark.

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