By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — Deep outings from their starting pitchers have been few and far between for the Cubs this season, one in which they’ve had to scratch and claw their way to wins.
That was again the case Thursday, as the Cubs outlasted the Phillies for a 5-4 win in 13 innings at Wrigley Field on a walk-off throwing error. Albert Almora scampered home from second base with the winning run when Philadelphia shortstop Freddy Galvis threw wide of first base in trying to finish a double play.
The Cubs improved to 16-12 and have won 10 of those games by rallying from behind.
“We never quit,” Almora said. “It’s written on our World Series ring. It really comes home to make a lot of sense for us. We never quit until that last out. We are in the ballgame no matter what.”
The Cubs have pieced together wins with a tough-as-nails bullpen and a cut-and-slash offense. Right-hander John Lackey lasted just five-plus innings Thursday, leaving with a no-decision when the Cubs scored in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 3-3. The bullpen gave up only one run in eight stellar innings of relief.
“It is just about the model that is in the ring,” Joe Maddon said. “We never quit. Truthfully, if you are ever in our dugout, you would see our guys are always engaged. Something bad happens, guys turn the page quickly. They never let it linger. They never have a negative thought. They just go get their gloves and go play defense. That’s it, there is no big secret to it.”
Catcher Miguel Montero hit a game-tying home run into the center-field basket to knot the game at 4-4 in the eighth inning. The ball was hit into the teeth of a brisk northeast wind.
“I hit the ball well, but the wind was really weird today,” Montero said. “It felt like it was blowing out at times, then blowing in. As soon as I hit it, I saw the center fielder looking at the ball like he was under it. I said, ‘Oh my god, he is going to catch it.’ The next thing you know the ball is in the basket. The basket — the amazing basket. Love it when I hit, hate it when I am catching. Honestly, I never thought I could hit it out. I just got lucky there.”
The Cubs improved to 10-5 in their last 15 games and collected their third walk-off win of the season. They’re 2-1 in extra innings.
“This was a crazy game,” Maddon said. “We were out of pitchers. I mean, we were out of them. Give our guys credit for battling through some frustrating moments. It was a really interesting game.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.