The much-anticiapted Major League debut of Chicago Cubs third base prospect Kris Bryant Friday afternoon did not go as well as Cubs fans had hoped as the San Diego Padres came from behind to win 5-4.
With his team trailing 4-2 with two outs in the top of the seventh, Padres center fielder Wil Myers took a 0-2 pitch from Chicago reliever Brian Schlitter. As the photo displays, FOX Trax shows the ball hit the strike zone for an apparent strike three. Padres announcers agreed, but Myers got the benefit of the call. Myers then put the next pitch far beyond the center field fence (1) to give the Padres the 5-4 lead, which eventually became the final score. Jed Gyrko and Alexi Armiarista scored ahead of Myers on the three-run shot.
A similar play happened with Will Middlebrooks batting in the top of the fourth. He, too, got the benefit of a pitch not called strike three and took advantage by hitting the next pitch from Cubs starter Jason Hammel over the right-field wall for a two-run home run (2) to put the Padres on the scoreboard and tie the game at 2-2.
The combination of both home runs hit after non-strike calls prompted Cubs manager Joe Maddon to argue the strike zone to the point of getting his first ejection as a Cub.
The Cubs got on the board first with two runs in the bottom of the third. Hammel, who led off with a double, scored on a throwing error from James Shields after Shields fielded Jonathan Herrera's sacrifice bunt. Shields later uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Herrera to score. Herrera scored twice on the day.
The Cubs jumped out to another two-run lead in the fifth on Jorge Soler's RBI single and Anthony Rizzo's RBI double. Myers took over with his game-winning shot two innings later.
Bryant was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in his Major League debut. He came up with two on and two outs in the bottom of the seventh after an intentional walk to Rizzo. Bryant grounded hard but right at third baseman Middlebrooks, who got the easy force out at the bag. Bryant left five runners on base.
Shields (W: 2-0, 2.84 ERA) pitched six innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits. He walked two and struck out nine. Craig Kimbrel (S:4, 0.00), the third Padres reliever, pitched the ninth for the save. He gave up a hit and struck out one.
Schiltter (L: 0-1, 8.10) blew the save (1) and took the loss in giving up the home run to Myers, the first of two hitters he would face. Hammel pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits. He let Gyrko and Amarista each single ahead of Myers's blast.
The two teams go at it again Saturday at 2:20 p.m. EDT. Kyle Hendricks (0-0, 10.38) will pitch for Chicago, and Tyson Ross (1-0, 3.75) will toe the mound for San Diego.