CHICAGO — Tony Wolters hit a tiebreaking single with two outs in the 13th inning and the Colorado Rockies beat the Chicago Cubs, 2-1, on Tuesday night in an epic NL wild-card game.
In the longest win-or-go-home postseason game in major league history, Wolters entered as part of a double switch in the bottom of the 12th. The reserve catcher came up with runners at the corners and drove in Trevor Story with a liner back up the middle off losing pitcher Kyle Hendricks, quieting the crowd of 40,151 on a crisp fall night.
After playing its third big game over three days in three different cities, Colorado now heads to Milwaukee to open a best-of-five Division Series against the NL Central champion Brewers on Thursday at Miller Park.
Scott Oberg, the sixth Colorado pitcher, fanned Kris Bryant for the final out of the 12th and then struck out the side in the 13th to end the longest postseason game in Wrigley Field history. Terrance Gore tried to sell that he was hit by a pitch, but was sent back to the plate after a replay review confirmed the initial call.
Previously, the longest win-or-go-home games in the postseason were 12-inning affairs in the 2014 AL wild-card round and Game 7 of the 1924 World Series.
It had pretty much everything, too. Hendricks was the third starting pitcher used by the Cubs, after Jon Lester worked six solid innings and Cole Hamels was pressed into action after the teams were tied at 1 after nine. Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado exchanged a memorable hug with Javier Baez after he tagged the excitable Cubs star on a grounder in the 11th.
Javier Baez hit a tying double for the Cubs off reliever Adam Ottavino with two outs in the eighth inning.
Colorado lefthander Kyle Freeland pitched four-hit ball for 6 2⁄3 scoreless innings on short rest in his playoff debut. Arenado had a sacrifice fly in the first inning against Lester, who gave up four hits in six innings.
Hamels, normally a starter, threw two shutout innings of relief for Chicago.
Baez walked leading off the 11th against Seunghwan Oh and moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Albert Almora. Daniel Murphy was intentionally walked and Baez got tagged out by Arenado on Willson Contreras’ grounder to third.
As Arenado applied the tag in the middle of the basepath between second and third, Baez wrapped his arms around him. Arenado smiled and patted him rather than try a throw to first.
Chris Rusin then retired pinch hitter Victor Caratini on a grounder to first to end the inning.
Chicago had chances to score in the sixth and seventh.
Ian Happ, batting for Lester, walked leading off the sixth. With one out, rightfielder David Dahl overran Kris Bryant’s pop fly near the line, allowing the ball to drop for a single. That put runners on first and second, but just when it looked as though the Cubs were ready to break through, Anthony Rizzo grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Chicago loaded the bases in the seventh, helped by a wild pitch and catcher’s interference, before pinch hitter Jason Heyward struck out.
Rockies shortstop Trevor Story made a diving grab of Murphy’s line drive for the second out of the inning.
The Cubs finally broke through in the eighth after Rizzo singled with two outs. Pinch runner Gore stole second before Baez hit a line drive to left-center on an 0-and-2 pitch from Ottavino.