Montero with walk-off hit in 13th inning


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Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO –- The Cubs returned home from a 5-4 West Coast road trip to face off against the division rival Pittsburgh Pirates. Going into the game, the Cubs had a sterling 34-16 (.680) record against divisional opponents. The Pirates started rookie Steven Brault against the reigning Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta in front of 38,951 fans. The game lasted over five hours but in the (lucky number) thirteenth inning, Miguel Montero came in to pinch hit with the bases loaded and nobody out. On a 1-2 fastball, Montero put it past the shortstop to bring in the winning run as the Cubs won 8-7.

The Cubs capitalized early in the game when Brault overthrew Josh Harrison at second, allowing Dexter Fowler to move from first to third on a Kris Bryant grounder in the first inning. One batter later, Anthony Rizzo would hit into a fielder’s choice to bring home the first run. They put up another two in the third inning off of a Jorge Soler double and a swinging-bunt fielder’s choice by Jason Heyward.

Brault was yanked fairly early, only pitching through four innings and giving up three runs. Arrieta was a large part of that early hook, as he worked a 14-pitch strikeout that sent Brault over 80 pitches.

Willson Contreras as also very active behind the dish, throwing out two of five would-be base stealers.

Arrieta was not quite in his usual rhythm. He gave up a solo shot to Josh Bell in the fourth and a three-run homer to Gregory Polanco that put the Pirates up 4-3 in the sixth. He got into trouble again in the seventh after David Freese reached on an infield single and Francisco Cervelli walked. After only getting one out, Arrieta left in favor of lefty Travis Wood, who gave up a two- run double to Josh Harrison with two out.

"The resiliency of our team was incredible," Chicago starter Jake Arrieta said after the game to reporters. "Just a crazy ballgame all the way around. So many things happened."

Just when the Cubs looked like they would bow out without a fight, Contreras hit a deep two-run home run to dead center to bring Chicago within one. Javy Baez followed with a double in the gap and took third on a wild pitch. After two quick outs, Kris Bryant walked, but Anthony Rizzo struck out on a pitch in the dirt, ending the inning.

Then, with one out in the ninth, Soler hit a solo home run into the second row in right-center off of Tony Watson to tie it up at six all. The rest of the ninth came and went to send the game to extra innings.

The Cubs loaded the bases in the bottom of the tenth, but failed to get a run across. Anthony Rizzo grounded into an awkward 3-2 double play that was confirmed after a replay review. Again in the twelfth, Baez tagged from third on a sacrifice fly, but was thrown out at home to end the inning.

Both teams gave up three run leads at some point during the game, but Rob Zastryzny (1-0) ended up with his first major league win and Jeff Locke (9-8) took the tough-luck loss. The Cubs will continue their series against the Pirates on Tuesday night with a Chad Kuhl vs. Kyle Hendricks showdown on the mound.


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