What happened the last time that the Cubs played in Game 163?

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The NL Central title will be on the line Monday when the Cubs and Brewers face off in a Game 163 at Wrigley Field.

Monday's game is not the first Game 163 in MLB history, of course, though it is first such game for the Cubs in quite some time.

In fact, the last time the Cubs played in a Game 163 was 1998, the season Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire dueled it out for the MLB home run single-season record (which McGwire won, 70 home runs to Sosa's 66).

Yeah, it's been a while.

The Cubs and Giants met at Wrigley Field for Game 163 on Monday, Sept. 28, 1998. The two teams entered the game 89-73, tied for the lone NL Wild Card Spot (MLB did not add a second Wild Card postseason position until the 2012 season).

Steve Trachsel started for the Cubs, facing off against Mark Gardner of the Giants. Trachsel pitched an odd game in which he allowed just one hit in 6 1/3 innings, though he walked six batters (he also struck out six).

Gardner had less success than Trachsel, allowing four runs (all earned) in 5 1/3 innings. Gardner pitched four shutout innings before surrendering a two-run blast to third baseman Gary Gaetti in the fifth.

Gardner exited the game in the sixth after allowing singles to Lance Johnson and Sammy Sosa. Giants pitcher Rich Rodriguez walked Mark Grace to load the bases, and Matt Mieske drove in Johnson and Sosa to give the Cubs a 4-0 lead.

San Francisco actually loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh inning, giving slugger Barry Bonds a chance to tie the game. Bonds, who hit 37 home runs in 1998, grounded out to first base to end the threat, however.

Sosa singled in the eighth inning and eventually came around to score on a wild pitch. The Cubs entered the ninth inning with a comfortable 5-0 lead, though the Giants did not go quietly.

After the Giants scored their first run of the game, Bonds again had a bases loaded opportunity, this time with none out. 

Fortunately for the Cubs, Bonds "only" hit a sacrifice fly. The Giants added a third run on a ground ball force out, though that was all, as the Cubs held on for a 5-3 victory to clinch the last playoff berth.

Long story short, that game in 1998 was a hard-fought and tight game. Bonds had several chances in big moments to get the Giants back in the game, though he ultimately came up short.

It would not come as a surprise if Monday's game at Wrigley Field is similar, 20 years later.

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