Cubs walk off in ugly fashion as Pirates whiff on popup


Maybe we should start expecting something strange to take place when the Cubs and Pirates play each other.

Thursday's series opener at Wrigley Field featured the latest in a seemingly constant-growing list of oddities happening when the NL Central foes share the field. 

The Cubs had the winning run at third in the 11th inning when Ian Happ stepped to the plate. He hit what looked like the second out, a routine infield popup to Pittsburgh second baseman Wilmer Difo

"Wind can be tricky here," Happ said. "I've been doing it for a few years now, and it's something that high pop ups like that, moving, they can get a little crazy."

Difo moved to his left and appeared to overrun the ball. He made a last-second effort to trickle a few steps to his right.

He whiffed as the ball fell to the infield dirt, bringing home the winning run for the Cubs.

"Obviously frustrated I missed the pitch and then ecstatic that we won the game," Happ said. "Just a crazy way to end it."

We've seen a few other strange moments between these teams. Javy Báez duped the Pirates infield into mistakes on a baserunning adventure this May in Pittsburgh.

Heck, the oddities between these two teams goes back to Merkle's Boner and the three-team pennant race between these teams in 1908.

Thursday's play was reminiscent of when Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco fell down on an 11th-inning, bases-loaded Matt Szczur fly ball in May 2015, resulting in a Cubs walk-off win.

"Similar scenario," Ross said of Thursday. "Kind of a ball that gets made 99.9 percent of the time. The wind was kind of playing some tricky stuff up there, it looked like.

"I haven't seen many of them, but I'm glad it went our way, that's for sure."

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