Patrick Wisdom held up reporters gathering around his locker so he could change out of his jersey and into a “Schwisdom” T-shirt.
The two Cubs long-haul major leaguers accomplished a rare feat, hitting back-to-back home runs on consecutive days. Frank Schwindel followed Wisdom in Sunday’s eighth inning to give the Cubs a much-needed 5-4 victory over Arizona at Wrigley Field, snapping a four-game losing streak.
According to Cubs historian Ed Hartig, it was the first time the same players went back-to-back on consecutive days since Ernie Banks and Jim Hickman did it against Houston on Aug. 23 and 24, 1969. The Cubs won both of those games in ’69 to improve to their record to 79-48, in case anybody’s wondering.
“That’s really cool,” said Wisdom, who homered for the third straight game. “We feed off each other’s energy, so it’s been great.”
Schwindel, who has a locker next to Wisdom, seemed to get a boost of energy as he saw his hit sail over the left-field wall. He broke into a full sprint as he crossed second base and continued until officially scoring the go-ahead run.
“Once I made sure it was gone, the excitement, the momentum,” Schwindel said. “I think Patrick had a good sprint around too. Trying to be like him. It was a fun two batters there, good team win.”
Oddly enough, the Cubs thought Wisdom had gotten a bad break on the previous pitch. He hit a grounder down the third base line that was ruled foul and television replays seemed to confirm the call, but trailing by a run late in the game, it was a disappointing moment when it happened.
“(Third base coach) Willie (Harris) usually has got a pretty good idea and he just kind of raised his eyebrows, saying it was pretty close,” manager David Ross said. “I do not know, Frank hit a home run after that, so it would have been a 2-run homer maybe. Just think positive.”
The Cubs hadn’t hit back-to-back home runs all season, but now have done so in three straight games. Christopher Morel and Ildemaro Vargas got things started on Friday. Schwindel and Wisdom, two longtime minor leaguers who finally earned full-time jobs with the Cubs, went in reverse order on Saturday.
This one had all the signs of another disappointing loss for the Cubs. After the bullpen couldn’t hold a 4-0 lead on Saturday, starter Wade Miley took a 3-0 advantage into the sixth inning Sunday and gave it up on three-straight, two-out RBI singles.
“I think they made an adjustment in the sixth and I just did not adjust back,” Miley said. “I needed to make an adjustment. It was time to throw some four-seamers and some sinkers and I just stayed soft, stayed with the cutter.”
The Diamondbacks took a 4-3 lead in the seventh off eventual winning pitcher Keegan Thompson, setting the stage for the dramatic Schwisdom comeback.
The other hero of Sunday’s game was catcher PJ Higgins. Called up from Iowa after Willson Contreras suffered a hamstring injury on Saturday, Higgins started the scoring with a bases-loaded, opposite-field, 3-run triple in the second inning.
“I definitely had some emotions,” Higgins said. “Obviously, I did not have many hits the first go around, so to hit that with the bases loaded right there, that was awesome. The whole crowd, the whole atmosphere was awesome. I was a little bit tired running around, I do not hit too many triples. “
Higgins, a 12th round pick of the Cubs in 2015, made his major league debut last year on May 19, but went just 1-for-23 at the plate before suffering an elbow injury and spending the rest of the year on the injured list .
“My debut, I was just kind of in awe of everything,” he said. “I was actually more nervous the next day catching because we were in first place and I did not want to go back there and ruin it for us.”
Higgins was on a tear at Iowa this spring, hitting .417 for the season and .632 since May 6. He got contact lenses during the offseason, while recovering from elbow surgery, which might have helped his hitting.
“I saw the ball well (before), but I see the ball a lot better with two eyes,” Higgins said. “There’s definitely a difference I can tell on my one eye to the other, so I finally settled in. I fixed my arm, I said I might as well fix my eyes too.”
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