Yankees edge Cubs in 18-inning, record-setting marathon
CHICAGO -- Aaron Hicks was thrilled when he scored what would prove to be the winning run to conclude an 18-inning game that the New York Yankees took 5-4 over the Chicago Cubs early Monday morning.
He was also, understandably, tired following the 6-hour, 5-minute marathon.
By winning the longest-ever interleague game in terms of innings, the Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the defending World Series champions.
"I'm excited, exhausted, but excited that we put our team on top," Hicks said about his reaction when he scored. The game ended at 1:14 a.m. local time.
The teams combined for a major-league-record 48 strikeouts. The previous record was 43, set by the California Angels and Oakland A's on July 9, 1971, in a 20-inning game.
Leading off the 18th, Hicks bunted for a single and advanced on catcher Willson Contreras' throwing error on the play. He moved to third on a sacrifice before scoring when Starlin Castro hit a grounder to shortstop Addison Russell, who threw wide of home.
"There was an opportunity there," Hicks said about the bunt. "I saw (third baseman) Kris Bryant playing back a little back. It worked out."
According to STATS, LLC, the game marked the second time in history two teams recorded 20-plus strikeouts. The other time was June 19, 2001, when the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres each had 20 in a 15-inning game.
"I know they're good, their pitchers are, but we have to do better than that," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of his hitters. "We have to make adjustments. We were not making adjustments."
New York manager Joe Girardi labeled it "a crazy game." The Yankees used seven pitchers, while the Cubs employed eight.
"It's a gritty performance by our guys," Girardi said. "Some brilliant performances out of guys out of the bullpen."
The Yankees set franchise records for most strikeouts by batters (22) and pitchers (26), and the Cubs set a franchise record for most strikeouts by hitters (26).
Chasen Shreve (1-0) pitched three shutout innings for the win. Pedro Strop (0-2) took the loss after allowing one run in two innings.
The Cubs scored three runs in a wild ninth inning to tie the game against their former closer, Aroldis Chapman, who blew a save for the first time since Game 7 of the World Series.
"I felt normal. It just wasn't my night tonight," Chapman said through an interpreter.
Javier Baez and Albert Almora Jr. hit one-out, RBI singles to pull the Cubs within one after Chapman allowed a leadoff walk and a single.
Chapman struck out Kyle Schwarber with runners at second and third before intentionally walking Bryant. Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch to bring in the tying run.
"That's not easy to do to get three runs against that fellow in these circumstances," Maddon said.
Tyler Clippard replaced Chapman and got Ben Zobrist to ground out to end the inning.
"That's what's important -- the team can come back from a tough situation like that and won the ballgame," Chapman said.
Cubs and Yankees relievers combined for 10 straight strikeouts in the 10th and 11th innings. In the 12th, left fielder Schwarber flew into the stands to make a highlight-worthy catch.
Four Cubs starting pitchers batted. In the 14th, pitcher Jake Arrieta -- who is scheduled to start later Monday in Denver -- struck out as a pinch hitter.
Much earlier, Jacoby Ellsbury homered and Aaron Judge tripled to back up Luis Severino's stellar start.
Ellsbury hit a two-run home run off reliever Justin Grimm in the eighth.
Judge's triple to deep center off Jon Lester put the Yankees ahead in the seventh after Bryant committed a two-base throwing error.
Severino struck out nine, walked one and gave up four hits and a run in seven innings in his first game against the Cubs.
He matched Lester, who struck out a season-high nine and allowed three hits, two runs (one earned) and two walks in seven innings.
"Incredible game," Maddon said. "Jonny Lester was really, really good. So was their kid."
NOTES: The previous Wrigley Field record was 37 combined strikeouts on May 31, 2003, when the Cubs faced the Houston Astros. ... The Cubs placed LHP Brett Anderson (lower back strain) on the 10-day disabled list Sunday. With an off day Thursday, the Cubs could go with a four-man rotation. RHP Eddie Butler and LHP Mike Montgomery are possible replacements. ... The Cubs recalled RHP Justin Grimm and INF Tommy La Stella from Triple-A Iowa, and Grimm gave up two runs in two innings. ... Cubs LHP Rob Zastryzny was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. He allowed three runs in four innings Saturday against the Yankees. ... New York CF Jacoby Ellsbury (elbow) returned to the lineup Sunday after not starting the previous four games. ... Yankees 1B Matt Holliday made his first start in the field this season. ... Cubs OF Jason Heyward remained out of the lineup after injuring a knuckle on his right hand making a play Friday.