By Chris Emma–
CHICAGO (CBS) — With Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto in control Friday night, Cubs infielder Javier Baez stepped to the plate in the eighth inning thinking small ball may win the game.
The game was scoreless when Baez stepped up, and the Cubs had just two hits. Baez was preparing to bunt, but he thought better of it. Cueto had pitched him inside all game, and Baez saw Giants third baseman Conor Gillaspie was aligned for a bunt. He decided to swing away.
On a 3-2 pitch, Baez ripped the go-ahead home run in the Cubs’ 1-0 victory in Game 1 of the National League Divisional Series.
“I was thinking about bunting and the third baseman was playing in,” Baez said. “So I knew Cueto was pitching me inside all night. I was just waiting for him to make a mistake and he finally did.”
Upon connecting with the ball, Baez flipped the bat, figuring his home run would carry to Waveland Avenue. A mean wind allowed the ball to just barely reach the basket in left field.
“I was so focused on that at-bat that I completely forgot about the wind,” Baez said. “And I thought that I really I hit it really good.
“It barely went out, but I still will take it. Didn’t mean to show anybody up. Obviously, but it was a big hit for us.”
Baez returned to the Cubs’ dugout and took a curtain call. He would scoop the final ball hit of the game and throw on to Anthony Rizzo at first base to secure the victory.