CLEVELAND — Miguel Montero only had two hits in the 2016 postseason, but both were massive knocks that wound up being the difference in a pair of wins.
The 33-year-old catcher somehow found a way to one-up his go-ahead grand slam in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Wednesday, when his bases loaded RBI single off Cleveland Indians reliever Bryan Shaw put the Cubs up 8-6 in the 10th inning of Game 7. That opposite-field base hit through a drawn-in infield wound up being critical as Carl Edwards Jr. allowed a run in the bottom of the frame before the Cubs won, 8-7, at Progressive Field to win their first World Series in 108 years.
“I haven’t had too many opportunities, I haven’t played a whole lot,” Montero said. “It was tough. I kept my head up, I kept grinding and looking for my opportunity and when they gave it to me, I gotta be ready.”
Montero only played in nine of the Cubs’ 17 postseason games, totaling 12 plate appearances and two starts. Opponents were happy to let Montero, who hit .216 with a .684 OPS in the regular season, beat them: Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Blanton intentionally walked Chris Coghlan to load the bases for Montero in Game 1 of the NLCS, and Shaw intentionally walked Addison Russell to get to Montero in Game 7 of the World Series.
In both spots, Montero delivered in monumental fashion.
“You don’t load the bases to face me,” a Budweiser- and champagne-soaked Montero grinned. “The numbers are out there.”