After trading away the team’s top performers and World Series heroes, the Chicago Cubs limped through the month of August, losing 12 games between August 5 and August 16. They have since rebounded and have now tied their season-high winning streak of six games with a sweep of the Minnesota Twins and Pittsburgh Pirates. Their series against the Pirates was capped by a see-saw finale that saw a total of three grand slams, tying a MLB record for most grand slams in a game (box).
Pittsburgh opened the scoring in the 1st inning with Yoshi Tsutsugo‘s solo home run. Matt Duffy and Jason Heyward responded in the 2nd with solo blasts of their own. The Pirates would take the lead in the top of the 3rd with 2021 All-Star Bryan Reynolds‘ grand slam off Cubs starter Zach Davies, the first of the game.
The Northsiders mounted an immediate comeback on Ian Happ‘s RBI single. Duffy, who had just 23 career home runs entering action on Sunday, stepped in against Wil Crowe with the bases loaded and drove a fastball down the left field line for his second home run of the afternoon, which was the second grand slam of Sunday’s contest.
The Pirates would not give up, however, and retook the lead thanks to the efforts of Jacob Stallings, who brought runners home with a sacrifice fly in the 5th inning as well as a go-ahead RBI single in the 6th.
The Pittsburgh pen was unable to hold the line in the late innings. The Northside offense loaded the bases for August Rookie of the Month Frank Schwindel, who delivered the third grand slam of the game by clubbing a Nick Mears curveball into the left-center field basket. This final grand slam would be the decisive hit of the game, resulting in an 11-8 victory for the Northsiders and yet another disappointment for the 48-89 Pirates.
The offensive surge from unheralded acquisitions Schwindel, Rafael Ortega and Patrick Wisdom are giving disappointed Cubs fans a small measure of cheer in a lost season. While they are not expected to play a major role in the team’s future, they will at least plug a few of many holes in the Northside roster heading into 2022.
The Cubs will look to continue their winning streak against the Cincinnati Reds, who will visit Wrigley for a crucial three-game series as they seek to clinch a second consecutive playoff berth, and their first in a full season since 2013. Tough right-hander Sonny Gray (7-6, 3.89 ERA) will take the ball for the visitors against rookie Justin Steele (3-2, 3.48 ERA). Game time will be 2:20 ET on the Labor Day holiday.