Rock­ies ad­vance as Cubs ousted in thriller

The Phnom Penh Post - - SPORT -

TONY Wolters drove in t he win­ning run as the Colorado Rock­ies won an ex­tra-in­nings thriller to send the Chicago Cubs crash­ing out of the post­sea­son with a 2-1 de­feat in the Na­tional League wild­card game on Tues­day.

Wolters blasted an RBI sin­gle in the 13th in­ning at Wrigley Field to en­sure the Rock­ies’ ad­vance to a di­vi­sional se­ries against the Mil­wau­kee Brew­ers on Thurs­day as the Cubs’ hopes of a sec­ond World Se­ries in three years came to an abrupt end.

Wolters’ win­ning run was the fi­nal act of a grip­ping bat­tle that ended just af­ter mid­night lo­cal time as the Wrigley Field crowd were left in stunned si­lence.

Both teams had ended up in the wild card game af­ter blow­ing leads in their re­spec­tive di­vi­sional races, be­fore los­ing tiebreaker games on Mon­day.

The early ex­changes of the con­test were dom­i­nated by a clas­sic pitcher’s bat­tle be­tween Cubs starter Jon Lester and Rock­ies coun­ter­part Kyle Free­land.

Dead­lock bro­ken

A slow start from Lester saw Char­lie Black­mon walked at the top of the first which was fol­lowed with DJ Le Mahieu’s dou­ble on a line drive to left cen­tre field.

Black­mon then crossed home plate af­ter Nolan Are­nado’s sacr ifice fly put the Rock­ies ahead.

There­after, Lester and Free­land would dom­i­nate both line-ups with su­perb per­for­mances from the mound.

With Free­land with­drawn af­ter six in­nings and two outs of the sev­enth in­ning, the Rock­ies sur­vived a scare at the bot­tom of the sev­enth when a catcher’s in­ter­fer­ence call left re­liever Adam Ot­tavino fac­ing a bases loaded jam.

Ot­tavino ex­tri­cated him­self how­ever when he got Cubs slug­ger Ja­son Heyward out swing­ing to pre­serve the Rock­ies’ slen­der lead.

But with the ten­sion mount­ing, the Cubs hauled them­selves back into the con­test in the eighth in­ning.

Ter­rance Gore was the hero for the Cubs, mak­ing a cru­cial steal to put him­self in scor­ing po­si­tion at sec­ond, be­fore Javier Baez lashed a dou­ble to left cen­tre field for the ty­ing run.

Yet the Cubs were un­able to build on the mo­men­tum in the ninth af­ter get­ting a man on base when Wil­son Con­tr­eras was walked, send­ing it into ex­tra in­nings.

With both teams burn­ing through their pitch­ing re­sources, the dead­lock was bro­ken in the 13th when Trevor Story reached third af­ter Ger­ardo Parra’s line drive.

Wolters then stepped up to blud­geon a ground ball through the gap into right field to bring Story home for the win­ning run.

Re­liever Scott Oberg then closed it out for the Rock­ies as Chicago’s sea­son ended in bit­ter dis­ap­point­ment.

AFP

Tony Wolters of the Colorado Rock­ies hits a RBI sin­gle against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Tues­day.

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