CHICAGO: Anthony Rizzo drove in the game-winning run with two outs in the ninth inning on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) to lift the Chicago Cubs to a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on a celebratory night at Wrigley Field.
After a chilly rain delayed proceedings for almost two hours, the Cubs raised their 2016 World Series championship banner in a ceremony before their first home game of the young season.
Their triumph last year ended an infamous 108-year title drought, and fans happily waited through the rain to get another chance to celebrate the long-awaited victory.
Cubs players lined the field for introductions and Julianna Zobrist, wife of World Series Most Valuable Player Ben Zobrist, sang “God Bless America.”
The national anthem was followed by a video tribute from last season, fans going crazy once again for the replay of the last out of the World Series.
In all, four banners were raised at the revamped Wrigley — the 1907 and 1908 World Series championship banners, last season’s National League pennant and, finally, the 2016 World Series banner that Rizzo and his teammates raised next to the center field scoreboard.
On Wednesday, the Cubs will be presented with their World Series rings, but Monday’s ceremony was for their long-suffering fans.
“I’ve been in every ballpark in the big leagues, and there are some really good ones, great fan bases and wonderful traditions,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “But there’s just something different about this place… There’s a passion about it.”
Cubs starter Jon Lester struck out seven and allowed one run on four hits over six innings. Wade Davis, the sixth Cubs pitcher, worked one inning for the victory.
Chicago took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Kyle Schwarber walked and scored on Bryant’s double.
The Cubs added another run in the fourth inning, when Lester drove in Addison Russell with a fielder’s choice ground ball.
Corey Seager’s double off Lester in the sixth scored Joc Pederson as the Dodgers trimmed the deficit to 2-1. Los Angeles tied the game at 2-2 in the eighth.
Rizzo was center stage again in the ninth, belting a 1-1 pitch from Dodgers relief pitcher Kenley Jansen to score Jon Jay from third base.
It was Rizzo’s sixth career walk-off run-batted-in.
“I’ll remember this day for as long as I play baseball,” he said.