WATCH: Yankees remain comeback kings thanks to Brett Gardner's late homer

Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field, two of the most storied franchises in baseball met for the opener of a three-game series. The Chicago Cubs, the defending World Series champions, hosted the New York Yankees, the team with 27 championships to their credit. The two clubs are meeting for the first time since 2014.

For the first eight innings, the game was all Cubs. Solo home runs by Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber gave them a 2-0 lead, and the defensive excellence of Jason Heyward helped make it stand up. He started two double plays on the afternoon, including throwing former Cub Starlin Castro out at the plate on a would-be sac fly.

The Cubbies were well on their way to a win even though regular closer Wade Davis was unavailable due to his recent workload. Hector Rondon had the Yankees down to their final strike when Brett Gardner lifted a go-ahead three-run home run to right field. Here's the video:

Former Cub Aroldis Chapman stranded the tying run at second base in the ninth inning for the save (NYY 3, CHC 2). It had been a very, very, very long time since the Cubs lost a game like this:

According to FanGraphs, the Cubs had a 96.4 percent chance to win the game at one point in the ninth inning. Then Gardner hit the home run and swung everything in New York's favor.

The Yankees now have the AL's best record (18-9) and run differential (plus-46). They started the season 1-4 and are 17-5 since, the best record in baseball during that time. Nine of those 18 wins are come-from-behind wins. Exactly half. The Yankees are trying to get younger while staying in contention -- they're calling it a transition, not a rebuild -- and so far it's working beautifully.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for,,,... Full Bio

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