Cubs’ Nico Hoerner makes ‘game-saving’ defensive play vs. Nationals

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Hoerner makes ‘game-saving’ defensive play vs. Nationals originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras wasn’t exaggerating when he called Nico Hoerner’s diving play a “game-saver.”

When Nationals third baseman Starlin Castro stepped up to the plate in the eight inning, he represented the go-ahead run.

The bases were loaded with two outs. Cubs manager David Ross said after the game he was contemplating a pitching change. Ross knew Castro hit lefties well, and left-hander Andrew Chafin was on the mound. Rookie Tommy Nance and closer Craig Kimbrel were up in the bullpen.

But would bringing in Nance for his MLB debut with the bases loaded be too much pressure? Did they want Kimbrel to have to throw 1 1/3 innings?

“I just trust Chaf so much,” Ross said.

So, he left Chafin in. First-pitch strike. Second-pitch ball.

On the third pitch, Castro got ahold of an outside sinker and lined it into the hole on the right side of the infield. Second baseman Nico Horner dove to his glove side and snagged the sharp ground ball on a long hop. In one smooth motion, he slid his right leg under him and popped up to make an on-target throw to first base.

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“I hope the camera wasn’t on me because I turned into a fan,” Ross said. “I was going crazy in that moment.”

Ross told Hoerner that he can’t wait to re-watch the highlight.

“That could have started a huge rally for them,” Contreras said. “But we all know that Nico is really good defensively. He has a lot of range. .. I love seeing him play second base.”

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