WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — It took a trip back to their childhoods, a trip back to the days when games ended with ice cream whether the result was a win or a loss. It took a trip to Williamsport, the home of the Little League World Series, for the Cubs to
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — It took a trip back to their childhoods, a trip back to the days when games ended with ice cream whether the result was a win or a loss. It took a trip to Williamsport, the home of the Little League World Series, for the Cubs to forget their road woes and play like kids.
• Box score
Maybe Sunday night’s 7-1 win over the Pirates at Historic Bowman Field will simply wind up being a one-day celebration of baseball in a pure form. Given the extent of Chicago’s troubles away from Wrigley Field, though, this trip to an old ballpark with no second deck and a crowd full of big league dreams was a welcomed detour during the Little League Classic presented by GEICO.
“We always want to play hard,” Cubs shortstop Javier Baez said. “No matter how many games we lose or how many games we are down, we’re always going to compete and play hard. But yeah, I think it kind of brought us together in the dugout, out of the dugout. Being around the kids and with the whole team, it was pretty cool.”
Anthony Rizzo homered off the scoreboard in left-center — one of three homers for the Cubs in the game — and then had Yu Darvish deliver the ball to one of Japan’s Little Leaguers. Jose Quintana spun seven shutout innings with “Cubbies” across his chest. Baez gave fist bumps to kids in the front row, and then lived up to his “El Mago” moniker with some flashy defense and a couple hits.
.@ARizzo44 giving his home run ball to the shortstop from the Japan @LittleLeague team is so awesome. 🔊 #LittleLeagueClassic pic.twitter.com/wPdqC2RAvx— MLB (@MLB) August 19, 2019
When the final pitch was thrown, the Cubs had collected their first series win of the season against a National League Central opponent, and the first series victory away from home of any kind since May 17-19. Chicago went 0-10-2 in its previous dozen road trips, severely limiting any forward progress in the Cubs’ quest to capture a division crown.
Now, the Cubs will head back to Chicago, where they will have an off-day Monday to cling to the experiences gained during their stay in this quaint town that steals the baseball spotlight for 10 days each year.
• Cubs rides boxes down hill at LL Classic
“It feels good, right?” Rizzo said. “Every game is meaningful and to win the two in a row on the road, which has been a struggle for us, especially at night, is nice.”
Rizzo’s shot came in the third inning against reliever Chris Stratton, and put the final touches on Mitch Keller’s pitching line for the Pirates. In his 4 1/3 innings, Keller also surrendered solo blasts to Nicholas Castellanos and Jason Heyward. Kris Bryant (RBI double) and Kyle Schwarber (two-run single) also delivered for the Cubs.