Cubs beat Nats on pinch hitter David Bote's walk-off grand slam

ByJesse Rogers ESPN logo
Monday, August 13, 2018

CHICAGO -- Like out of a fairytale, Cubs rookie infielder David Bote hit a two-out, two-strike grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning with his team trailing 3-0 as Chicago pulled out a stunning 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Sunday night.

Bote, 25, was pinch hitting with the bases loaded after the Cubs had been stymied all night versus starter Max Scherzer. But closer Ryan Madson couldn't put Bote away, attempting to get a low fastball by him after the Nationals had his number the day before.

"Today, I was like, 'I'm not going to get beat down there,'" Bote said after the celebration. "And then I got that pitch and I was like, 'Just get it into the air.' Hit it as hard as I can to center field. That was the approach. And get underneath it."

Bote sent the ball into the center-field batting eye, 442 feet from home plate, according to Statcast. Wrigley Field erupted after what was just the second walk-off grand slam in baseball history with the trailing team down 3-0 in the ninth. And it was the first to come with two out and two strikes. Bote also had a two-out, two-strike, game-tying home run in the ninth inning last month.

"I like his self-confidence," manager Joe Maddon said. "He does it in a way that's not offensive. It's not this braggart kind of a thing. It's a humbled confidence. It's really worn well by him."

Bote was an 18th-round pick in 2012 but was slow to make his way through Chicago's system until a swing change a couple of years ago clicked for him. He had a strong showing in spring training this year, and when Kris Bryant went down with a shoulder injury, it opened the door for Bote, who hit the Cubs' second walk-off grand slam this season. The last time that happened was in 1980.

The ending overshadowed a great pitching duel between Cole Hamels and Scherzer. The former had never heard of Bote before a July trade to the Cubs.

"When I came over he was the first player I saw," Hamels said. "Just knowing the type of work he puts in, you have to give him a lot of respect and credit."

Bote is hitting .329 after his walk-off home run and is sure to get more playing time down the stretch no matter when Bryant returns from his injury. He's keeping a level head after coming through in several big moments for the Cubs.

"One of the hitting coaches was saying, 'Stay underwater,'" he explained. "Stay where you're at. Keep grinding."

Along those lines, Bote was asked how he would celebrate the grand slam. The Cubs have the day off Monday before opening up a crucial series with second-place Milwaukee on Tuesday.

"Hang out with my family," he said nonchalantly.

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