The game was billed as "Opening Day 2.0" by the Cubs. For the first time since 2019, Wrigley Field was allowed to hit it's 40,000-plus capacity. As a nice bonus, the rival Cardinals were in town for the first time this season, too. Things started off rocky for the hometown team, but eventually Wrigley was rocking like it was a playoff game and the fans left singing "Go Cubs Go" after the 8-5 win.
The Cardinals had a 5-1 lead in the middle of the fifth inning. The Cubs' bats then started to chip away. Willson Contreras walked to lead off the fifth. With one out, Jason Heyward singled. A passed ball allowed Contreras to score and moved Heyward to second. Sergio Alcantara tripled Heyward home and then scored later on a Molina throwing error. Just like that, it was 5-4.
That was the first time since 2008 a player homered to tie the game after at least 14 pitches, per Jeremy Frank. For the Cubs, we'd have to go back to 1988:
More than anything, though, look at the crowd in the highlight. It's a madhouse. It's something we'll continue seeing all across baseball as ballparks are slowly but consistently opening back up to full capacity across the league. Fans missed being there so much they'll go even more crazy for the big moments, mixed with a little "don't know what you got, 'til it's gone" vibe.
Pederson homered earlier in the game and went 3 for 4 with three RBI. He got off to a brutal start to the season, but he's hitting .304 with five doubles, a triple, seven homers, 21 RBI 18 runs and a .548 slugging in his last 31 games.
From the Pederson near-homer it was elementary. The Cubs' bullpen has been one of the best in baseball since the beginning of May. Two inherited runners were allowed in the fifth inning Friday, but the official line for the Cubs' relievers on Friday shows five scoreless innings. Contreras spotted them extra insurance with a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth, but it wasn't necessary.
The Cubs are now 36-27. They entered Friday tied with the Brewers for first. The Cardinals fall 32-31 and are four games back.