By: Alex Patt
The Cubs finished their homestand in epic fashion Sunday afternoon with a 6-5 win over Toronto in extra innings. It was a game they trailed 5-3 going into the bottom of the 10th when the Jays rallied for two runs of Koji Uehara and Justin Wilson, when the Cubs scored three runs in the bottom of the 10th to win in. Alex Avila scored Ben Zobrist and Javier Baez on a single to right field down 5-4 after Kyle Schwarber scored on a wild pitch. Both Schwarber and Baez struck out in the inning, but reached first as the pitches they swung at got away from the catcher. One of the wildest wins you would ever see.
This capped off the sweep of Toronto in which the Cubs won the first two games by scores of 7-4 and 4-3. It was a nail-biting series in which Wrigley Field was filled with a combination of Cubs fans and thousands of Blue Jays fans who made a ton of noise. There were times when the Jays fans took over the atmosphere at Wrigley Field with their chanting and cheering. But the Cubs fans got the last laugh with the close wins which featured Javier Baez highlight reel plays at shortstop in back-to-back games and a big home run in game one. Against a lineup with Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson and a rejuvenated Justin Smoak, starters Jake Arrieta, Jose Quintana and Kyle Hendricks combined for a 2.98 ERA and all went at least six innings of three runs or less. The bullpen on the other hand had a combined 5.87 ERA which they gave up runs late in each game, however it is important to note that Wade Davis was nothing short of outstanding this series pitching in three straight games and not giving up a run and tying the Cubs consecutive save record.
The offense overall did its job this homestand going back to the Reds series, which they scored 33 total runs and scored 17 vs the Jays. The pitching overall struggled a bit more in the Reds series which they gave up 26 runs to their 33 runs scored. The big story was the final game of the Reds series which Jon Lester gave up nine runs in the second inning and left due to injury. There was speculation that he could be out for a while, but it does not sound as series and may miss a start or two which is better than being out the rest of the season. It was also that game where the Cubs lost 13-10 despite erasing a 9-0 deficit which included back-to-back-to-back home runs from Avila, Happ and Baez, but the bullpen gave it away late. The Cubs as a team averaged around 11 hits per game in the Reds series and as a team batted over .300.
Overall the homestand record was 5-2, and enter Monday 2.0 up on Milwaukee. They will go to Cincinnati and have another showdown with the Reds.