Catcher John Baker performed as a pitcher and a history maker Tuesday night for the Chicago Cubs.
Baker, usually the team's backup behind home plate, was pressed into pitching duties in the 16th inning because the Cubs otherwise had run short of arms. He came through with a scoreless frame, and later scored the winning run in the bottom half, leading the way in a 4-3 victory against the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field.
In celebration, teammates showered Baker with beer, chocolate milk, hair gel, shampoo, body wash and more beer, he said via MLB.com:
"Best shower I've ever taken," Baker said.
Elias reports that Baker is the first position player ever to be credited with a victory for the Cubs, who have been playing ball since 1876. The game itself only seemed like it started in the 19th century. In reality, it lasted 6 hours, 27 minutes — a record for both teams. Baker was the Cubs' ninth pitcher after starter Edwin Jackson could give only four innings. The Rockies scored three times against Jackson in the first inning, but couldn't find home plate thereafter.
''When you go 15 innings without scoring a run, you don't deserve to win,'' Colorado manager Walt Weiss said.
No argument. Baker said he hadn't pitched since the Cap Cod League, when he was college-aged. He's 33 now, having put in parts of seven seasons in the majors.
''It's really cool to get a chance to do this,'' Baker said. ''I was having trouble not smiling on the mound. You never get opportunities to do things like this.''
The Rockies might have expected a belly-itcher, but Baker was professional out there. Charlie Culberson popped out to lead off the 16th and, after Drew Stubbs walked (posing a stolen-base threat), Cristhian Adames grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. First baseman sprinted off the field like a little boy.
Back on familiar ground, Baker walked to lead off the bottom of the 16th. He later came home on a sacrifice fly by Starlin Castro after the Cubs had loaded the bases against Rockies starter (usually) Tyler Matzek, who was Colorado's ninth pitcher.
Baker had played the hero. Rizzo remained appreciative after the game, saying so on social media:
Good news for the Rockies: Justin Morneau returned from the disabled list and drove in two runs.
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