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On an afternoon that looked more like Week 14 of the NFL season in Chicago than game 14 of the MLB season, the Chicago Cubs pulled off an improbable comeback to defeat the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.
Chicago twice trailed by eight runs, but scored 12 unanswered runs from the sixth inning on to win it 14-10.
Fittingly, that’s a common football score to go along with the common football weather. Also fitting with the football theme, 11 of those runs came after new Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy sang the seventh inning stretch at Wrigley Field.
Nagy truly believed as he bellowed out “Let’s get some runs,” which is how most guest singers at Wrigley Field conclude their appearance. Very few times though is it followed with an outburst like Saturday’s.
The Cubs comeback ties for the second largest in franchise history. The biggest deficit they’ve overcome was nine runs on Aug. 22, 1989, when they trailed Houston 9-0 before winning 10-9. The Cubs last overcame an eight-run deficit to beat the Colorado Rockies 10-9 at Wrigley Field on May 30, 2008.
Nagy’s obvious influence aside, you have to give the Cubs credit too for sticking with it on what was truly a miserably cold, windy and rainy day at the ballpark. It would have been an easy one to mail in. Had the game not been played at all, no one would have been surprised either. The game-time temperature was 38 degrees, which is playable. However, with rain and frequent 25-30 mph wind gusts mixed in, it was never comfortable.
With Sunday’s forecast actually looking worse, they decided to play on. When the Braves jumped out to a 9-1 lead in the third inning, Cubs fans obviously wished they hadn’t bothered. But those who stuck around, either at the ballpark or watching at home, were rewarded.
Saturday’s epic comeback wouldn’t have been possible without a lot of things going the Cubs way too. Or perhaps more accurately, without the Braves completely collapsing.
In Chicago’s decisive eighth-inning rally, they scored nine runs with the benefit of only three hits. The biggest being Javier Baez’s three-run, game-tying double. The Braves aided their cause by hitting two batters, walking five, including three with the bases loaded, not to mention a wild pitch that led to an error that allowed the final two Cubs runs to cross.
It was every bit as painful as it sounds. Times that by 100 for the Braves fielders, who had to stand on the field for over 30 minutes while the game was unraveling.
The comeback was a big one for the Cubs in a lot of ways. They’re among the presumed contenders who have gotten off to a slow start this season. Saturday’s win puts them right back at .500 though, and it could be a launching point for future success.
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