Montero's HR gives Cubs 3-2 win over Brewers in 10th
CHICAGO (AP) Miguel Montero believes the Chicago Cubs are unbeatable right now, regardless of what happens during the course of the game.
He showed why Wednesday night.
An inning after he let two wild pitches skip past him to allow the Milwaukee Brewers to tie the score, the veteran catcher homered in the bottom of the 10th to give Chicago a 3-2 victory for the Cubs' sixth straight win and 12th in 13 games.
''When we come to the ballpark now, we know we're going to win,'' Montero said after opening the bottom of the 10th with a solo blast to left field off Michael Blazek (5-3).
Tommy Hunter (3-2) pitched a scoreless 10th to get the win.
Kris Bryant homered and Anthony Rizzo made a circus catch falling into the stands to lead the keep the Cubs surging.
''Wow, we played some defense tonight - all over the place,'' Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. ''We did so many things on defense to win that game.''
Of course, the one play every will be talking about is Rizzo's catch.
With one out and a runner on first base in the top of the sixth, Milwaukee slugger Ryan Braun (3 for 4 with a homer) lifted popup into foul territory on the right side. Rizzo raced over, jumped up on the tarp positioned along the wall and then stepped onto the brick wall separating the stands from the field. He appeared to make the catch as he was falling into the stands and first base umpire Mark Carlson initially waved it off.
After Maddon came out, the umpiring crew got together to discuss the play and then overturned the call, ruling Rizzo made the grab before falling into the stands. The runner on first, Jonathan Lucroy then was awarded second because Rizzo went into the stands.
''Just incredible effort by an unbelievable player,'' Braun said. ''From a pure effort perspective, one of the greatest plays I've ever seen in the regular season. It's a really dangerous play, obviously. You have no idea where you're going to land. If his foot were to hit the seat wrong or fall in-between seats, he could have broken an ankle. So for him to even attempt that, it's a special play by a really good player.''
Chicago had a 2-1 lead entering the ninth inning before Hector Rondon allowed a run to blow his fourth save of the season. After getting into a jam of runners on second and third and none - the result of a base hit, an error and a wild pitch - Rondon appeared on the verge of getting out of it by striking out the next two batters.
But with Jean Segura at the plate, Rondon threw another wild pitch, allowing Braun to score.
In his last appearance on Sunday, Rondon worked out of a bases-loaded jam with none out by striking out the side.
Montero, though, took the blame this time.
''I know I'm better than that,'' he said. ''I know I can block those pitches. I've blocked pitches even tougher than that.''
He softened the blow by hitting his 11th homer of the season to keep the Cubs feeling unbeatable.
Cubs starter Jason Hammel was in line for the win before the blown save, but he was upset afterward about being yanked prematurely (in his mind) for the second straight start. Hammel, who allowed one run on four hits, was pulled with one out in the sixth. In his last start, he was yanked in the fifth inning despite leading 5-2.
When asked if he was surprised, Hammel said, ''Obviously. I'm trying to win ballgames. I'll leave it at that.''
Maddon said he simply didn't like the matchup against lefty swinging Adam Lind.
''I am certain he's gonna be upset, I expect him to be upset. I'm happy he's going to be upset,'' Maddon said. ''But from my perspective, it's not about being nice. It's about trying to do the right thing at the right moment.''
Brewers: OF Braun (lower back) returned to the starting lineup. He didn't start Tuesday but pinch-hit in the seventh and flew out to center.
Cubs: INF Tommy La Stella (right oblique) finally is healthy after being sidelined since April. President Theo Epstein said La Stella was sent to the minors to get at-bats and will return by Sept. 1 at the latest.
Brewers: RHP Tyler Cravy (0-3, 5.40) pitches the matinee finale of the three-game series and will be making his first appearance against Chicago.
Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (7-8, 3.22 ERA) is 3-0 with a 1.84 ERA in his last four starts.