Cubs endure frustrating loss to Mets


by - Senior Writer -
Anthony Rizzo was dejected after freezing on the basepaths and spoiling a comeback attempt. (Credit: Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports)
Anthony Rizzo was dejected after freezing on the basepaths and spoiling a comeback attempt. (Credit: Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO — In a contest that featured just two hits with runners in scoring position, three errors and a couple of really strange plays involving Chicago Cubs (41-34) first baseman Anthony Rizzo, the New York Mets (36-40) won the second matchup of the 4-game series at Wrigley Field by a final score of 5-4. The Friday afternoon affair also included four lead changes, with the fourth and final one coming on a 2-out RBI single for the Mets in the top of the seventh that put them ahead for good.

Still looking for his first career winning decision at the Friendly Confines, Cubs starter Yu Darvish gave up four runs in six innings of work, with three of the four runs coming via home runs. Darvish struck out six but earned a no-decision to remain winless at Wrigley. A double-play groundout plated a run in the top of the second to put the Mets up 1-0. In the top of the third, Mets outfielder Jeff McNeil tabbed his first of two critical hits on the afternoon with a 2-run shot to right. Darvish gave up his last run on a solo dinger, with Michael Conforto hammering a 436-foot blast to right-center in the top of the sixth.

On offense, for the most part, the Cubs consistently answered the Mets' scoring plays with scoring plays of their own. A fielding error by Mets third baseman J.D. Davis in the bottom of the second allowed the Cubs to boast runners on the corners with one out. Javier Baez drew a walk to lead off the half-inning and proceeded to steal second. He then reached third on the error and came home on an RBI groundout by Albert Almora Jr. soon after that. Prior to Almora hitting the ground ball, Bote stole second, which enabled him to reach third on the grounder. Bote was then plated by an opposite-field base knock off the bat of Darvish, who tabbed his career-best second RBI of the season on the single. Darvish tallied another single to start the bottom of the fifth, as he went 2-for-2 on the day.

McNeil's homer regained the lead for the Mets, who held a 3-2 advantage at that point. A few innings later, Cubs second baseman Addison Russell powered out a 2-run blast to push the Cubs ahead by a run. The fifth-inning dinger was skied 395 feet to left-center for Russell's fifth long ball of the year. Darvish crossed the plate on the round-tripper that made the score 4-3 in favor of the Cubs. The back-and-forth nature of the contest continued in the sixth inning, when Conforto's aforementioned solo shot tying the game at four runs apiece.

Meanwhile, in the bottom of the fifth, Rizzo was at the center of an unusual strikeout that involved a hit by pitch. Rizzo was unable to check his swing as he went around on a pitch that grazed his forearm. In situations like that, the swing supersedes the HBP, and Rizzo's swing marked the third strike. However, there was confusion surrounding what the third-base umpire called on the checked swing, leading to Mets starter Jason Vargas becoming demonstrably upset when he was not initially credited with the strikeout. The umpires deliberated before ultimately ruling that Rizzo did go around on his swing, thereby ruling him out via strikeout.

Rizzo found himself caught up in another odd incident in the bottom of the eighth that ruined a potential Cubs comeback. Not long after hitting single, Rizzo rounded second on a single hit by Willson Contreras to left. Rizzo considered attempting to reach third before appearing to rethink the decision. However, Rizzo inexplicably froze on the basepaths while watching the throw being made from the outfield, and he was caught in a rundown and tagged out to end the inning because of it.

Earlier, in the top of the seventh, McNeil came through with a 2-out RBI single that provided the Mets with a 5-4 lead. McNeil made a boneheaded baserunning decision himself, as he tried to stretch the routine single into a double, and was thrown out as a result, but the damage had already been done. In the ninth, the Cubs went down in order, with the Mets' 5-4 victory evening the series at one win for each club.

New York Mets at Chicago Cubs
Jun 21, 2019 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York (36-40) 0 1 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 5 7 2
Chicago (41-34) 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 4 6 1
W: Brooks Pounders (1-0) L: Brad Brach (3-2) S: Edwin Diaz (16)

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