Cubs

Cubs pull out walk-off win over Dodgers on festive night at Wrigley

Cubs pull out walk-off win over Dodgers on festive night at Wrigley

Roughly four hours after Anthony Rizzo carried the World Series trophy out onto Wrigley Field to show off to the Cubs fans in attendance, the face of the franchise delivered the game-deciding hit.

New Cub Jon Jay scored the walk-off winner on Rizzo's two-out hit as the Cubs pulled off a 3-2 win in the bottom of the ninth in the Wrigley Field opener.

However, thanks to a rain delay that lasted nearly two hours, this Cubs victory came early Tuesday morning as most of the 41,166 fans in attendance had gone home to warm up and stay dry after a 36-degree windchill at first pitch.

It was a festive atmosphere at Wrigley - a "special night," as Joe Maddon, Jon Lester, Addison Russell and Rizzo all used that same phrase to describe the dreamlike sequence that played out at the "Friendly Confines."

Jay pinch hit for Albert Almora and led off the 9th with a single to right field. Pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella advanced Jay with a groundout to shortstop. Kris Bryant struck out to follow, but Rizzo fought off a tough pitch into the left-field corner to plate Jay.

Sporting another Maddon lineup that paid tribute to the World Series team, the Cubs jumped out to an early lead behind Lester with a Bryant RBI double in the third inning to score Kyle Schwarber.

The next inning, Russell came around to score on Lester's fielder's choice.

But the Dodgers mounted a comeback against Lester and the Cubs bullpen, plating solo tallies in the sixth and eighth innings, the latter coming on an Addison Russell throwing error.

Lester finished with just the one run allowed in six strong innings, striking out seven and surrendering four hits and a walk. 

Wade Davis got the win after tossing a scoreless top of the ninth.

Rizzo summed up the night/early morning perfectly:

"I'll remember this day for as long as I play baseball."

Where Cubs stand in updated All-Star voting

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USA TODAY

Where Cubs stand in updated All-Star voting

The Cubs were swept in four games at the hands of the Reds. The news on the All-Star ballot hasn’t been kind as well.

Starting positions for Cubs players at the 2018 MLB All-Star game is looking a little bleak. But catcher Willson Contreras is still in striking distance.

MLB updated its third round of All-Star ballots for the National League. Dating back a week ago, Contreras was behind Giants catcher Buster Posey by 90,000 votes. As of now, that number is quite similar with Posey up 92,000 votes.

For other Cubs players, the margins have continued to grow in the wrong direction as the week has gone along.

The race for first base is a clear cut path for Braves first basemen Freddie Freeman. With nearly 2,200,000 votes to Freeman’s name, he’s ahead of Anthony Rizzo by nearly 1.3 million votes. At this point last week, Rizzo was down 870,000 votes.

The race for second base is a bit closer. Javier Baez has complied 1,186,243 votes, but he still trails Braves’ Ozzie Albies by 222,000 votes.

But Baez shouldn’t be too comfortable. Reds second basemen Scooter Gennett is just 19,000 votes behind him. Gennett could leap frog Baez, with still 10 days left to vote.

If Baez can get his name ahead of Albies, he’d become the second Cub to start at second base in three years, when Ben Zobrist started in 2016.

Kris Bryant, who has struggled this year offensively, is still struggling in the Midsummer Classic standings. Rockies third basemen Nolan Arenado leads Bryant by 646,400 votes, compared to 447,000 votes last week.

Rounding out the infield with Addison Russell at shortstop, he still sits in third place, trailing Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson and Giants Brandon Crawford.

In the outfield, it is more of the same for Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, and Ben Zobrist. Heyward sits in seventh place with 750,688 votes. Schwarber in eighth has 706,374 votes, and Zobrist has 694,377 votes in ninth.

Even though the Cubs probably won’t see multiple starters on the field this time around, it doesn’t mean they won’t have a chance to be selected as reserves.

Cub faithful still has time to get their players to the All-Star game. Voting ends July 5 at 11 p.m. CT.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 32nd homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 32nd homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa victimized the Tigers pitching staff again on the next night, taking Brian Moehler deep in the 7th inning for a 400-foot solo blast.

The homer tied the game at 3, but the Cubs blew the lead in the bottom of the 7th when the Terrys (Adams and Mulholland) gave up 3 runs. The Cubs wound up losing 6-4.

The Cubs were putting together a really nice season in 1998 that ended with a trip to October. They entered the series with the Tigers with a 42-34 record, yet lost both games to a Detroit team that entered the series with a 28-45 record. The Tigers finished the season 65-94; the Cubs finished 90-73.

Fun fact: Luis Gonzalez was the Tigers left fielder and No. 5 hitter for both games of the series. He spent part of the 1995 season and all of '96 on Chicago's North Side. 1998 was his only year in Detroit before he moved on to Arizona, where he hit 57 homers in 2001 and helped the Diamondbacks to a World Series championship with that famous broken-bat single in Game 7.

Fun fact  No. 2: Remember Pedro Valdes? He only had a cup of coffee with the Cubs (9 games in 1996 and 14 in '98), but started in left field on June 25, 1998. He walked and went 0-for-1 before being removed from the game for a pinch-hitter (Jose Hernandez).