By Richard Kagan
I am still giddy over David Bote’s dramatic walk-off Grand Slam in the bottom of the 9th inning to beat the Washington Nationals, 4-3 at Wrigley Field.
I’ve seen the replay ten times after watching the hit in real time and was thrilled and yet in disbelief at the same time. I saw the climax building in the 9th when Ryan Madson hit Wilson Contreras to load the bases with two outs. “Hey, this ball game isn’t over,” I mused. The fleeting thought of hitting a grand slam came and went and was replaced by “how about a double down the right field line to clear the bases?”
When Bote hit his drive, it was a no-doubter. That ball sailed deep over the wall in center field. One of the hardest hit homers I’d seen all season. I was incredulous. This club is magical. The pitching is questionable. But tonight, Cole Hamels answered a lot of questions going 7 innings in a sparkling night on the mound. He was dominant as was Max Scherzer of the Nats who looked every bit like a Cy Young Award winner. I had sent out a tweet saying, “Looks like Scherzer is pitching so well, a 1-0 lead can hold up.” He left with a 1-0 lead that went to 3–0 when the Nats scored twice in the top of the 9th innng.
Now, the Cubs needed a major rally. They did it. You know, right now the Cubs have the Nationals number. And, David Bote, a 25 year old rookie, will be playing more in the Bigs. It wasn’t just a walk-off homer. Jason Heyward also hit a grand-slam homer in the 9th inning. But this signaled the arrival of a player too good to leave on the bench. Madson had two strikes on him but Bote connected with a solid swing. That says a lot.
Bote was mobbed at home plate by the team and a few guys ripped off his jersey and doused him with ice to “cool him off.” Let’s hope that it is only temporary. Let’s hope that the Cubs ride this win to more wins and that they are able to solidify their lead in the NL Central.
The Cubs won last night 4-3 in a game that won’t be forgotten for quite some time. Fans in Cub Nation got quite thrill on a late Sunday night. Just when you least expect it, the baseball Gods can offer some mighty gifts.