Willson Contreras puts Cubs on his back in walk-off win
Contreras puts Cubs on his back in walk-off win originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Maybe Willson Contreras just has a flair for the dramatic.
“We thought that for a sec there, that home run might be like a late-inning type of homer with the rain that was supposed to come in,” said Cubs shortstop Nico Hoerner with a chuckle of Contreras’ two-run homer in the fifth inning Saturday.
“It felt like a sense of urgency in that fifth inning. Maybe Mother Nature was going to be the bullpen today.”
Contreras’ go-ahead two-run homer in the fifth was not the difference maker in a rain-shortened affair it was looking like it could have been.
In fact, the rain held off enough Saturday for the Cubs and Brewers to play 11 innings.
But Contreras recording the biggest swing of the game proved to be inevitable after all. He hit a two-out, walk-off single in the 11th inning as the Cubs beat the Brewers 6-5.
“That was awesome and just an incredible at-bat there at the end of the game,” Hoerner said. “He obviously carried us today.”
Saturday was an eventful day for Contreras, who became only the 17th Cub ever to record four 20-homer seasons.
He finished the day 2-for-5, adding a walk in the ninth against Brewers closer Devin Williams that loaded the bases for the Cubs in a 3-3 tie.
On top of that, he was behind the plate all 11 innings, catching five Cubs pitchers, which drew praise from multiple teammates and his manager.
“To have your legs underneath you, especially as much as he’s been playing, it's hard,” said David Ross, who added with a chuckle: “I mean, I know I'm probably getting pinch hit before that at-bat gets there.
“Big game for him. He put us on his back. He has that ability, man. When he's locked in at the plate, he can carry an offense and he did that today for us.”
Added Cubs outfielder Ian Happ: “That's who he is as a player. He's back there. He's locked in on the game the whole time and able to give us really, really good at-bats.
“Obviously he hit the home run that was huge and then being able to come up with that big knock, especially with two strikes.”
The walk-off came long after Contreras was behind the plate for Marcus Stroman, who threw his longest start in a Cubs uniform.
Stroman, who was charged with two earned runs in 7 2/3 innings, called Contreras' day "special."
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“I feel like Willy loves those moments [and] wants those moments to always fall down on him. There's no one who wants to come through for the team more than Willy,” Stroman said.
“Obviously, like you said, to sit there and catch an extremely long, tedious game and to be locked in and then to still be locked in on your last AB of the game, that's pretty special.
“Willy is the horse that we have and he's the backbone of this group.”
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