The Milwaukee Brewers were tied for first place in the NL Central with the Chicago Cubs after a victory vs the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night. That result actually clinched playoff berths for the Brewers and Cubs, but both teams are obviously more interested in winning the division and getting a free trip to the NLDS (rather than having to play a one-game Wild Card playoff).
The Cubs appeared to be in good shape to keep sole possession of first place with a 6-1 lead through four innings.
But the Pirates fought back, and Pittsburgh catcher Francisco Cervelli came to bat as the tying run in the top of the ninth in a 6-4 game. Cervelli hit a pop-up into foul territory and Anthony Rizzo appeared to have a play on it just at the edge of the infield netting near the first base dugout. However, as we’ve seen before at Wrigley Field, a fan got in the way.
— Robert Flores (@RoFlo) September 27, 2018
Steve Bartman pt. 2??? pic.twitter.com/nd0iQ6nL5e
— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) September 27, 2018
So, what looked like the second out of the inning turned into a foul ball. And later in the at-bat, Cervelli crushed a double off the wall.
And later in the inning, Starling Marte hit a two-run double, though this is one that Rizzo should’ve caught and can’t blame anybody else.
— Pirates (@Pirates) September 27, 2018
So, all of this felt like the Cubs’ nightmare situation in the 2003 NLCS (though they’ve since won a championship, of course, so it wouldn’t be nearly as painful now), but in this game the Cubs were able to work past the fan “interference” and Rizzo’s inability to catch the line drive. Albert Almora hit a pinch-hit single with an 0-2 count and two outs in the 10th to give the Cubs a walk-off victory.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 27, 2018
So, the Cubs maintain their 0.5-game lead over Milwaukee heading into Thursday. The Cubs have another challenge ahead on Thursday with red-hot Pirates starter Trevor Williams on the mound, followed by a three-game series against the Cardinals at Wrigley. And while the Cubs still have things in their own hands, the Brewers have a much more favorable finish to the season with three games at home against the Tigers.