Kyle Schwarber gets his 1st walk-off RBI in a Cubs’ win over the Reds

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 16: Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates his walk off home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the tenth inning at Wrigley Field on July 16, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

CHICAGO – On this night, there was a lot of focus on the beginning and the end. After all, the Cubs were honoring their famous and, in some ways, infamous 1969 team.

Wearing jerseys from that season 50 years ago brought back memories for older fans of the franchise. That year they had an incredible start to the season, which lasted till August, until their bad ending denied them a shot at the playoffs.

Funny how it was the exact opposite during the game against the Reds where the current Cubs honored the team. This time they had a terrible start, yet managed to rally to produce a memorable and surprising ending.

Of all the great moments that Kyle Schwarber has provided in his career with the team, he’d yet to get a walk-off hit. Such a moment had escaped him during the parts of five seasons with the team.

That changed on Tuesday night, one in which the team honored their past by reversing their story, as the outfielder completed a three-run comeback with a walk-off homer in the 10th inning. It completed a 4-3 win, giving Schwarber his first game-ending RBI of any kind in his career.

It wasn’t like big blasts of the past that hit scoreboards or even left Wrigley Field. This hit off Raisel Iglesias got just high enough and far enough to drop into the basket in left field, but it was more than enough to get the job done.

After participating in a number of walk-off celebrations during his career, Schwarber got to be the focus for the first time as he was mobbed at the plate. A postgame interview Gatorade bath completed the unique moment for the outfielder.

Now that Schwarber has that out of the way, he’ll hope to continue this recent stretch of good hitting that comes after a slow start to July. In the first seven games of the month, he only had three hits, but has picked things up in the last four games.

Schwarber has hit a homer in each of the last three games and in the last four contests with six hits. Perhaps he’s on his way to finding the rhythm he was building in June when he batted .262 with eight homers and 19 RBI.

Getting this chance would take the help of his teammates after Schwarber went hitless in his first four at-bats. Spot starter Alec Mills had a bizarre first inning in which he retired the first two batters, allowed a homer to Eugenio Suarez, hit two batters, then surrendered back-to-back RBI hits.

Mills wouldn’t allow another run over the next five innings as he struck out six batters and walked just one in the sixth inning effort. A two-run homer by Robel Garcia in the second then a solo shot by Kris Bryant would tie the game, eventually setting up Schwarber for his big moment.

It was a first in the career of a player with plenty of memories so far, but it’s never too late for something new.

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