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Taylor Davis’ slam, Javy Baez’s solo shot lift Cubs to 6-5 victory

Chicago Cubs' Taylor Davis hits a grand slam during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton) ORG XMIT: CXC116

Taylor who?

That was a common refrain on social media Saturday as Cubs backup catcher Taylor Davis blasted his way into the day’s trending stories.

Davis, making his second start behind the plate with right-hander Yu Darvish, cranked a game-tying grand slam in the fourth inning to jump-start a 6-5 come-from-behind victory against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field.

The home run was the first of Davis’ career and the first grand slam for the Cubs this season. It came on the first pitch of his at-bat and was also Davis’ first base hit of the season.

“It’s unbelievable,” Davis said. “It was a really, really fun feeling hearing Wrigley Field react like that.”

The home run erased a 5-1 deficit, and Javy Baez came through with a go-ahead solo shot in the eighth.

The Cubs have won six in a row and claimed the first series against their National League Central rivals. A half-game behind St. Louis in the standings, the Cubs can claim the top spot with a victory in Sunday’s finale.

But back to the question at hand: Who is Taylor Davis?

The Cubs recalled Davis, 29, from Class AAA Iowa on April 12 after Victor Caratini went on the 10-day injured list. Davis appeared in 13 games for the Cubs the last two seasons, stroking five hits in 18 at-bats.

He was drafted out of high school by the Marlins in the 49th round of the 2008 draft but did not sign. The Cubs signed him as an amateur free agent in 2011.

Davis has bounced around the minors the last eight years, spending time in Daytona, Peoria, Tennessee and Iowa.

It was all building to this moment in front of 39,601 fans.

“It was perfect,” Darvish said. “It looked like a movie.”

Manager Joe Maddon could barely contain his surprise that Davis homered against Michael Wacha.

“That’s so unlikely,” he said. “I’m not degrading him; it’s just unlikely. He crushed that ball. Wacha made a mistake, and he did not miss it. Very unlikely event right there.”

Davis is the first Cub to hit a grand slam as his first career home run since pitcher Kevin Tapani did it in 1998. He’s the first Cubs position player to do it since Champ Summers in 1975. STATS Inc. also notes that Davis is only the seventh player to hit a game-tying grand slam as his first career homer.

Davis said somebody was able to retrieve the ball as a souvenir.

“It hasn’t set in,” Davis said of the emotion of it all. “I’ll tell you when it does. It’s just exciting.”

The Cubs nearly argued their way out of Baez’s home run. Moments before the homer, Baez hit a high pop-up down the right-field line. Kolten Wong attempted a sliding catch near the foul line, but the ball bounced off his glove and was ruled foul. The Cubs challenged, and the call was upheld.

Three pitches later, Baez hit a no-doubter to right field that sailed 413 feet over the wall.

“Thank God for instant replay,” Maddon said. “Thank God we did not get what we wanted there. If that had been called fair, it would have been much more difficult to score probably.”

The Cubs found themselves down 5-1 in the fourth after Darvish began to struggle. Wacha doubled and scored against Darvish in the third, then hit a two-run single in the fourth.

Darvish allowed five runs, six hits and five walks in four-plus innings. He also threw two wild pitches and gave up a homer to Jose Martinez.

“My stuff was good,” said Darvish, who noted he went to his sinker too often. “The result was not good, but I can fix it for next time.”