Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (6/18/24): Cubs 5, Giants 2 – Cubs Say Hey to Win

Ed. note: Tonight’s game was played under a pall of sadness as news came out that the great Willie Mays had passed away Tuesday afternoon. A true giant of the game and possibly the best to ever play it, Mays will be missed.

For the second consecutive night, the Cubs took a late lead on the Giants Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. Unlike Monday’s 9th inning fiasco, however, Chicago went for a different option to close the game and they were able to hold on for a win.

The Cubs jumped ahead when Dansby Swanson rode the jet stream with the wind blowing out for a two-run homer to right off San Francisco ace Logan Webb in the 2nd inning. Justin Steele was sharp yet again Tuesday and kept the score at 2-0 through four frames.

Steele had his only real trouble of the night in the 5th inning when he walked a pair of batters with one out. before backup catcher Curt Casali split the gap in left-center for a game-tying two-run double. Things remained even through the next two innings before the home team was able to rally in the 8th.

Michael Busch greeted submarining reliever Tyler Rogers with a double that just missed clearing the wall in right-center. Cody Bellinger followed by poking a single past the shortstop to put the Cubs ahead. Ian Happ picked up an RBI hit of his own to make it 4-2.

Luke Jackson replaced Rogers and pinch-hitter Christopher Morel hit a ground ball deep in the hole to short for a perfectly placed infield single that gave the North Siders a 5-2 advantage. To everyone’s relief, Keegan Thompson pitched the 9th and struck out the side to earn a refreshingly drama-free save. (Box score)

Key Moment

It was very important for the Cubs to add some insurance after taking the lead in the 8th. Those extra runs gave Thompson some cushion to be aggressive and attack hitters, which he did successfully.

Why the Cubs Won

For the second consecutive game, they came through with runners in scoring position late. Thankfully, the bullpen was significantly better than in the previous game and managed to protect the lead.

Stats That Matter

  • Steele has really clicked in since looking a little bit rusty coming back from his hamstring injury. He didn’t get the win but his team did for a change: 6.2 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 8 K, and 2 BB.
  • Busch had a single in addition to his double and his .809 OPS is the highest on the team.
  • Tyson Miller got four more outs Tuesday and has been Chicago’s most consistent reliever since coming over in a trade.
  • Happ stayed hot with two more knocks.

Bottom Line

What a difference a day makes. Tuesday played out a lot more like the Cubs were hoping games would go before the season. The difference was pretty clear, as Héctor Neris wasn’t involved in this one. The other options available in the bullpen are hardly great but some of those alternative arms deserve a shot to close. Perhaps they will catch lightning in a bottle with Miller, Thomson, or someone else. Neris can try to re-earn some trust in lower-leverage situations. Here’s hoping Chicago has learned their lesson and goes with a committee approach going forward.

On Deck

The Cubs try to actually win a series Wednesday afternoon at 1:20pm CT. Kyle Hendricks is back in the rotation and the Giants have yet to name a starter for a matchup airing on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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