Zaslal/a wh3171 10.2.2020 9:35
CLEVELAND -- This is why Ben Zobrist came back home. And this is why manager Joe Maddon wanted him so badly.The Cubs needed a veteran in the clubhouse to teach their seemingly endless supply of budding young stars, someone whod been there. Whod done that. Who cared little about curses or droughts. Who knew what Maddon wanted and how to translate it.Zobrist, fresh off a World Series title with the Kansas City Royals, was searching for a place to spend the final years of a consistently fine career. What better place to do it than a 2-hour drive from where he grew up in central Illinois?And there he was early Thursday morning, standing in the batters box in the top of the 10th inning in Game 7, facing a two-strike count with two runners on. Then the 35-year-old switch-hitter did something that may have encapsulated everything Maddon loves about him.Zobrist shortened his swing. He fouled off one pitch to stay alive. The next provided the biggest blow in Chicagos season-long bout with the weight of its own history, a double inside third base that scored pinch-runner Albert Almora Jr. with the go-ahead run in an 8-7 win that gave the Cubs their first championship since 1908 and earned Zobrist the World Series MVP award.Its a team game and I cant believe I get the opportunity to hold this trophy, he said.Cleveland reliever Bryan Shaw intentionally walked Chicago slugger Anthony Rizzo to get to Zobrist, who entered the game hitting .391 in the Series but had gone hitless in four at-bats. Shaw quickly got ahead 1-2 before Zobrist -- batting left-handed -- poked a foul ball down the third base line past a diving Jose Ramirez. The next pitch was more of the same. In a situation where some of his teammates would have swung for the outer reaches of Progressive Field, Zobrist settled for making contact.The normally understated Zobrist pointed toward the sky after his 10th and final hit of the series as the blue-clad fans who spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars to turn portions of the Indians home field into an eastern suburb of Wrigleyville roared once more.I know he threw a pretty hard cutter, Zobrist said. I just barely hung in there and fortunately he put one just close enough to the plate where I could slap it down the line.By the time Zobrist went to the dugout to fetch his glove and ran back out to his spot in left field, the lead was two. Barely 10 minutes later, Zobrist was sprinting to join the dogpile in the infield after Kris Bryant threw to good friend Anthony Rizzo at first for the final out, the second time in as many years Zobrist found himself awash in the joy.Last fall he helped the Kansas City Royals beat the New York Mets in five Series games. When he went looking for a job, there was really only one place to go: Chicago.Ben is a winning baseball player, Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein said the day Zobrist signed a four-year, $56 million deal last December. His offense, his defense, his baserunning. Hes been one of the more valuable players in the game for a long time.One who also came to Wrigley Field without an ego. Maddon moved the player he cultivated a close relationship with while the two were in Tampa Bay around like a kid with a new toy. Zobrist played primarily at second base but also spent time in left and right field. Always without complaint. Always with the greater goal in mind.A goal that was realized after Clevelands Rajai Davis tied the score with a stunning two-run homer off Chicago closer Aroldis Chapman in the eighth. After the ninth inning ended, there was a 17-minute rain delay. And then the Indians dared Zobrist to be the difference.Just as he has whenever the Cubs called on him this season, he was. Custom Patriots Jerseys . With the short-handed Warriors needing help from someone -- anyone -- to stop a three-game skid, ONeal returned from right knee and groin injuries that had sidelined him for four games and put up season highs with 18 points and eight rebounds. It was just enough to help lift Golden State to a 102-101 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night. Cheap Custom Patriots Jersey . 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Dietrich tied the game with a three-run shot, Juan Pierre singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning and Miami dealt the Los Angeles Dodgers their eighth straight loss, 5-4 on Friday night. The Marlins tied the game 3-all in the fourth on Dietrichs three-run homer with two outs. Placido Polanco and Marcell Ozuna sandwiched walks around a strikeout by Justin Ruggiano and a pop foul by Greg Dobbs before Dietrich sent a 3-2 pitch into the right field pavilion while playing in his second major league game. "How special," Dietrich said. "So many greats have played here. It kind of brings chills. Im glad my family got to see it." Miami ended its own three-game losing streak in the matchup of cellar dwellers. The Marlins have the NLs worst record at 11-25, and got outscored 11-1 during a three-game sweep in San Diego. "Weve been waiting on a big hit," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "Got a young kid up there whos taking advantage of an opportunity." Rookie Jose Fernandez (2-2) allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings, struck out seven and walked two for his second major league win, having won at Philadelphia last weekend. "I keep learning every start," he said. Fernandez threw 17 consecutive strikes at one point in the game. "Hes one of those guys that you want to get to early because, as he gets settled, hes going to get better as the game goes on," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He was aggressive in the strike zone and he wasnt afraid of anybody. He was coming right after us." Steve Cishek pitched the ninth to earn his fifth save in six chances. Former Dodger Pierre singled to left field in the seventh, giving Miami a 4-3 lead. Adeiny Hechavarria grounded into a double play, scoring pinch-hitter Chris Coghlan, who doubled off the top of the wall in centre field. The umpires reviewed the play and upheld second base ump Chris Gucciones original call after Marlins manager Mike Redmond came out to discuss it. "It was a big play at the time and I just wanted to make sure they got it right, and they did," Redmond said. The Dodgers blew an early lead for the second straight game in equaling their longest skid since dropping eight in a row from Aug. 22-29, 2008. Five of the losses have been at home, tying their longest such skid since May 28-June 11 last year. At 13-21, the Dodgers are last in the NL West and have yet to win in May. Mattingly is facingg rampant speculation about his future with his high-priced lineup failing to contend.dddddddddddd Ronald Belisario (2-4) took the loss, giving up two runs and three hits in one-plus innings. He walked one and struck out none. The Dodgers have scored three runs or less seven times during their skid. Sluggers Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier continued to slump, combining to go 1 for 8. Kemp struck out twice. Rookie Matt Magill made his third career start for the Dodgers, giving up three runs and five hits in five innings. He struck out two and walked four in his second straight poor outing. The right-hander didnt make it out of the second inning last weekend at San Francisco. Los Angeles closed to 5-4 in the eighth when A.J. Ellis singled in Kemp, who led off with a single and stole second. They had the tying run on third when Dee Gordon grounded out to second base to end the inning. The Dodgers loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth, but pinch-hitter Tim Federowicz flied out to centre to end the inning. After trailing early, Redmond noticed a change in Fernandez. "He came out up in the zone in the first and then he turned it up after that and was lights out," the manager said. "He pounded the strike zone and kept guys off-balance." The Dodgers staked Magill to a 3-0 lead in the first on Adrian Gonzalezs three-run homer. Carl Crawford led off with a single and Nick Punto walked to set up Gonzalez. They led 2-0 on Wednesday and ended up losing 3-2 to Arizona. Fernandez said that his first pitch after the homer "I felt like now Im pitching. Im young and trying to get adjusted to the game." NOTES: Dodgers RHP Zack Greinke and LHP Scott Elbert made their first rehab appearances for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga in its game at Lake Elsinore on Friday night. Greinke allowed eight runs -- three earned -- and six hits in 4 1/3 innings, struck out four and walked none. He broke his left collarbone in a bench-clearing brawl at San Diego last month. Elbert was expected to throw one inning of relief while rehabbing from left elbow surgery. ... Marlins INF Chris Valaika had two pins inserted in his left wrist Friday in Miami. Hes expected to be out six to eight weeks. ... The Marlins shuffled their rotation for Sundays series finale. RHP Tom Koehler will start in place of LHP Wade LeBlanc. ... The Dodgers selected the contract of OF/1B Scott Van Slyke from Triple-A Albuquerque and optioned IF/OF Elian Herrera back to Albuquerque three days after he had been called up. They also transferred RHP Chad Billingsley to the 60-day DL. He had Tommy John surgery on April 24. ' ' '