Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (Simulated Game 62): Cubs 5, Marlins 4 – Contreras Walks Off O’s

After dropping the finale of their four-game set against the Cincinnati Reds, the Chicago Cubs (41-21) got back on track against the Baltimore Orioles (17-44) on Tuesday at Wrigley Field. The Cubs fell behind early but walked off in the 9th thanks to a big hit by Willson Contreras, via MLB The Show 20.

Alec Mills made his second start in place of Jon Lester and didn’t pitch nearly as well this time around. The right-hander breezed through the first two frames but fell behind in the 3rd inning on an RBI single by Trey Mancini that put Baltimore ahead. Later in the inning, Anthony Santander drove home Mancini to make it 2-0.

In the 4th, Mills walked the leadoff man and allowed two singles before walking Hanser Alberto to force in the third run of the game for the Orioles. Mancini’s sacrifice fly to deep left field made it 4-0. Mills made it out of the inning without further damage, but his day was done after that. He allowed four earned runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out four along the way.

Meanwhile, the Cubs offense struggled to get anything going against Orioles starter Kohl Stewart. They finally did break through against him in the 5th, however. David Bote hit a one-out single, then both Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant walked to load the bases. With two outs and the bases still juiced, Javier Báez drove a ball into the corner in right field for a double to bring all three baserunners around and pull the Cubs to within 4-3.

That’s where the score would remain, thanks to strong efforts by both bullpens. The combination of Dan Winkler, Jeremy Jeffress, Kyle Ryan, and Jharel Cotton went five innings and surrendered only two hits with no walks, no runs allowed, and six strikeouts. That set the stage for a dramatic 9th inning rally.

The Orioles have gone with a closer by committee so far this year, and it was right-hander Shawn Armstrong’s turn to finish off the Cubs in this one. He was greeted by a leadoff pinch-hit single by Anthony Rizzo to start the rally. Armstrong then walked Bryant, who was replaced at first base when Ian Happ grounded into a fielder’s choice. Báez hit a deep sac fly to center field that sent the tying run over to third base, just 90 feet away.

Armstrong nearly hit Willson Contreras with the first pitch of the at-bat, sending the catcher sprawling out of the batter’s box. But Contreras was locked in on the next pitch, driving it into the gap in right-center for a walk-off double.

Notes: With the victory, the Cubs are now 2-1 against the Orioles in interleague play. They’ll finish the season series on Wednesday, with Tyler Chatwood facing left-hander Ty Blach on the mound … David Ross said he hasn’t decided yet who would go to the bullpen when Lester returns to the rotation. Despite the results against the Orioles on Tuesday, Ross really likes Mills as a starter.

Key Players:

Contreras – 1-for-4, BB, 2B, 2 RBI
Báez – 1-for-4, BB, 2B, 3 RBI
Bryant – 1-for-3, 2 BB, 2B
Cubs bullpen – 5 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 0 ER, 6 K
Mancini – 1-for-4, 2 RBI
Santander – 2-for-4, 2B, RBI
Alberto – 2-for-4, BB, RBI

Winning Pitcher – Cotton (2-0)
Losing Pitcher – Armstrong (1-1)
Save – None
Home Runs – None

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