By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) The Cubs’ first walk-off hit at home in 2014 was good news for a team that had struggled to score runs all season. Through the first one-third of the season, the Cubs have now won only six times in their 25 games that have been decided by two runs or fewer.
On Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, Nate Schierholtz turned on an 0-2 breaking ball from the Mets’ Scott Rice, pulling a single to right field to score Anthony Rizzo with the game-winner in the bottom of the ninth inning of a 2-1 win.
Cubs manager Rickey Renteria talked about the run production problem that has led to his club being shut out a major league-high eight times in the first 54 games of his tenure.
“It is a tremendous feeling (the walk-off win), and it never gets old,” Renteria said. “I am glad to be experiencing it the first time here as a Cubbie.”
Schierholtz has had a slow start to the season, batting .212 entering play Tuesday. The three hits he had, including the game-winner, were the most the outfielder has had this year since collecting four hits on April 11.
“In that situation you just want to put the ball in play,” Schierholtz said. “Anything can happen off of the bat. I was not sure where the right fielder was playing. It really didn’t hit me until I was rounding first as you could probably tell.”
The Cubs mobbed the field, celebrating with Schierholtz near second base. This marked the Cubs’ first walk-off win since June 13, 2013.
“I know I am a better player than I showed the first two months,” Schierholtz said. “That really wasn’t me. I knew I was going to come around, it just took longer than I hoped. I still have a lot of work two do the next four months.”
Cubs starter Jake Arrieta struggled through 4 2/3 innings, allowing one run, three walks and seven hits that led to an early exit for the pitcher. The bullpen allowed just two hits the final 4 1/3 innings.
“It has been kind of a common theme for the bullpen to come in those situations and do a big job for us,” Arrieta said.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.