Heyward hits walk-off grand slam as Cubs win thriller over Phillies

by - Senior Writer -
Jason Heyward hit his first career walk-off home run on a grand slam to defeat the Phillies. (Photo Credit: Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports)
Jason Heyward hit his first career walk-off home run on a grand slam to defeat the Phillies. (Photo Credit: Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO — Despite his myriad successes in his eight-plus seasons in the majors, Chicago Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward had never hit a walk-off home run entering Wednesday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies. He had also developed a reputation for a slugger who was not much of a three against left-handed pitchers. However, both of those trends came to a screeching halt with one swing of Heyward's bat.

Hitting his first walk-off home run, Heyward took left-handed Phillies reliever Adam Morgan deep for a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth to provide the Cubs with a come-from-behind 7-5 win over the Phillies. Picking a rather opportune time to record his only hit of the night, Heyward sent a 2-2 pitch sailing 415 feet to right-center for a clutch two-out bomb.

Just his third home run of the year, Heyward's blast capped off a four-homer affair at the Friendly Confines that featured late offensive heroics from both clubs. The walk-off by Heyward answered a two-run bomb by the Phillies' Dylan Cozens off Cubs closer Brandon Morrow in the top of the ninth that put the Phillies ahead 5-3.

Much earlier in the contest, Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo provided the Cubs with a lead by hammering a solo home run off the scoreboard beyond right field in the second inning. His ninth long ball of the year, the no-doubter from Rizzo increased his RBI total to 40, which is the seventh-largest total in the National League.

The Cubs increased their lead a few innings later with a two-run third inning. Kris Bryant sparked the scoring by taking advantage of a defensive shift by Philadelphia. Bryant attempted to steal second on a ball four issued to Rizzo, with the walk nullifying the steal attempt. However, Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco covered second base on the play due to the shift, and he took his eyes off Bryant after the walk was called. Bryant noticed that nobody was covering third, so he trotted to the bag for his second steal of the season.

Thereafter, Willson Contreras hit an RBI single to left that scored Bryant. A few at-bats later, Rizzo came home on a sacrifice fly by Javier Baez. The Cubs squandered that lead in the sixth inning, though, as the Phillies knotted the score at 3-3 on a three-run homer.

Cubs starting pitcher Jose Quintana produced a decent 5.2-inning outing, giving up just three hits and two walks while striking out 10. However, with his pitch count at 91, he was questionably pulled from the game by Cubs skipper Joe Maddon with two outs and two men on in the top of the sixth. Often-reliable reliever Steve Cishek entered in his wake and immediately made the decision to take Quintana out seem foolish.

Throwing a slider over the plate, Cishek was taken deep by Aaron Altherr to tie the ballgame up. The dinger marked Cishek's first home run allowed this season. Cozens's home run in the ninth, which gave the Phillies their first and only lead of the night, was similar in the fact that it served as the first home run given up by Morrow this year.

While those broken streaks went against the Cubs' favor, the streak that Heyward broke by hitting his first career walk-off bomb made a world of difference for the North Siders. Hitting just .135 on the year against left-handers prior the winning at-bat, Heyward had hit only one home run in the past two years when facing lefties before his game-winner. Mobbed by his enthralled teammates at the plate after hitting the walk-off, Heyward, who went 1-5 at the dish, was also the recipient of a cool Gatorade bath during his postgame interview.

A pair of walks and a single loaded the bases for Chicago in the ninth. Ben Zobrist had a chance to increase the Cubs' score with one out in the inning, but he grounded into a fielder's choice that resulted in a force out at home. Then, with two outs, Heyward worked his magic, handing Morgan, who entered with one out in the inning, the loss to drop him to 0-2.

Winning 7-5, the Cubs (34-24) avoided dropping their second straight to the Phillies (32-27). Reliever Cory Mazzoni collected his first win as a Cub, making him 1-0 overall. Both clubs recorded six hits and two home runs apiece, with a grand slam rightfully deciding the outcome of a power-hitting bonanza.

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