Cubs outlast D-backs in 15-inning marathon

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The Cubs assuredly felt sweet relief after winning in spite of their numerous missed opportunities. (Credit: Mark Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
The Cubs assuredly felt sweet relief after winning in spite of their numerous missed opportunities. (Credit: Mark Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

PHOENIX, Ariz. — After leaving countless runners stranded in innings 12 through 14, including squandering a situation in which the bases were loaded with no outs in the top of the 12th, the Chicago Cubs (14-12) finally broke through in extra innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks (16-13) at Chase Field on Sunday. A game defined by home runs in the first nine innings was partially defined by wasted scoring opportunities in extras, but a clutch double from veteran Ben Zobrist drove home two runs and culminated in the Cubs winning 6-5 in 15 innings to take two out of three from the Snakes on their home turf.

The contest was 3-3 at the start of extra innings, with four separate home runs, including two from Diamondbacks second baseman Eduardo Escobar, contributing to all six runs being scored up to that point. Cubs slugger Kris Bryant went yard for the second time in the series with a 2-run blast that plated starting pitcher Jose Quintana in the top of the third. The 374-footer off D-backs hurler Luke Weaver carried out to right for Bryant's third long ball of the season.

In the following inning, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras tabbed his seventh dinger with a 366-foot solo jack to left. Meanwhile, Escobar proved to be the downfall of Quintana in an otherwise quality performance on the bump. The infielder tagged Quintana for two homers to single-handedly pull off a 3-run comeback. Escobar's first round-tripper was a solo shot in the fourth, and his second was of the 2-run variety, as it scored Ketel Marte in the sixth. Quintana was pulled a few at-bats after allowing the Cubs' lead to dissipate on the 2-run jack.

After Escobar's game-tying blast, the matchup did not feature much offense until the Cubs loaded the bases off D-backs reliever Jon Duplantier with zero outs in the 12th. The Cubs were unable to get the ball out of the infield for the rest of the inning, though, and left all three base runners stranded. The next inning featured a strange ending, as Contreras attempted to steal home with two outs. Interestingly enough, Zobrist was not given the opportunity to give it his best shot at driving in the go-ahead run, since he was at the plate when Contreras tried and failed to steal home.

Zobrist, who entered the game in the 11th inning, made up for the nullified at-bat by leading off the 14th with a single and then reaching second base on a throwing error. A fielding error occurred in the next plate appearance, but, even with Arizona's mistakes aiding them, the Cubs still were unable to bring a run across in the 14th.

Of all people, reliever Tyler Chatwood sparked the Cubs' lucrative 15th frame with a 1-out double to deep right-center. Albert Almora Jr. followed that up with a single to put runners on the corners and pave the way for Zobrist to save the day with a 2-run double into the right-field corner. Zobrist went 2-for-2 in the game, and the double served as his first extra-base hit of the year.

While Zobrist's hit in the 15th inning was the most important hit of the affair, the winning run was actually scored by Zobrist himself on a sacrifice fly from Bryant that came after the aforementioned double, as Zobrist reached third base on the throw home on the previous play. The Diamondbacks entered the bottom of the 15th trailing 6-3, and Caleb Joseph made the score 6-5 with a 2-run single, but Cubs reliever Allen Webster came into the game with two outs and forced a game-ending lineout. The Cubs outhit the D-backs 13-12 in the marathon and were able to overcome a 2-for-15 performance with runners in scoring position in their hard-fought 6-5 victory.

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