After the Reds tied the game at 2 with a run in the eighth and another in the ninth, both managers exhausted their benches in extra innings. And after running out of position players, Maddon got creative.
The fun began in the bottom of the 13th when Joel Peralta relieved Trevor Cahill and lefty reliever Travis Wood took over in left field. In the bottom of the 14th, righty reliever Spencer Patton came in to pitch for Chicago for one batter and then moved to left field — with Wood taking over on the mound. The two then switched spots again for the final out in the inning.
The Cubs finally broke through in the top of the 15th with five runs, highlighted by a Javier Baez grand slam – his only hit in seven at-bats on the night.
So, naturally, right-handed reliever Pedro Strop began the bottom of the 15th in left field with Wood on the mound.
Got all that? Even Maddon couldn’t believe it all worked. Obviously, it helped that no Reds batter hit the ball to left field when a pitcher was manning the position.
"We were naked, we were so naked," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said, per MLB.com. "Here’s the thing, you do stuff like that, when I went out to [put reliever Travis Wood in left field] originally, the infielders were kind of giggling, they kind of liked it. So when you get into a game like that that’s really stressful, everybody’s trying so hard, everybody wants to win. It’s, in a perverse way, to lighten the mood a little bit and so they all kind of dug that."
Stay tuned to see what happens the teams meet again Wednesday afternoon.