The two men who combined to record three of the most important outs in Chicago Cubs history – and given the circumstances, baseball history – were at Frontier Field Sunday afternoon for the series finale between the Rochester Red Wings and Syracuse Mets.
Carl Edwards, who took the mound to begin the top of the 10th inning in Cleveland during Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, was sitting out in the Wings bullpen watching Rochester’s 8-3 victory.
And after Edwards recorded two outs but also yielded a run that cut Chicago’s lead to 8-7, it was Syracuse’s starting pitcher, Mike Montgomery, who was summoned to get the final out, which he did, to end the Cubs’ 108-year championship drought.
“I look back at that and it’s an emotional experience,” Montgomery said a few years ago, right after the Cubs traded him to Kansas City. “At the time, I didn’t realize how much impact it (had) but especially now, especially as I leave this team and this city, it’s going to be something I can look back (at) and really be proud of.”
A couple weeks ago I talked to Edwards about that night and he said, “There’s been times where you just wake up here and there and I’ll think about it. I’ll see the Facebook messages and stuff when we win. It’s always good to have it in the back of your mind because one thing about that is no one can ever take from you that World Series.”
Besides Montgomery and Edwards, there were three other guys at Frontier Sunday who were in Cleveland that famous night. Mets relievers Felix Pena and Rob Zastryzny were both with the Cubs, though they weren’t on the World Series roster, and Nationals Roving instructor Coco Crisp, who has been in town observing the Wings this week, played for the Indians and went 2-for-4 and scored a run.
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In fact, Crisp would have been the batter facing Montgomery in that pressure-packed spot representing Cleveland’s last hope, but he had been removed in a ninth-inning defensive switch and replaced by unheralded Michael Martinez.
And so it was Martinez who hit the weak grounder to third off Montgomery that Chris Bryant fielded and fired to Anthony Rizzo at first to end the game.
Edwards and Montgomery have bounced around since they were each traded by the Cubs midway through the 2019 season – Edwards has been with the Padres, MarinersBraves, and Blue Jays, Montgomery has spent time with the Royals and was in the yankees‘ farm system in 2021.
Edwards, who signed with the Washington Nationals in March, might not have to wait too much longer to get back to the big leagues. In 10 ⅓ innings across nine appearances, the 30-year-old righty has allowed just one run for an ERA of 0.87. He has 12 walks, four strikeouts, and microscopic batting average against of .094 and WHIP of 0.68.
Montgomery may have a tougher road because barring injuries, the parent New York Mets don’t really have a spot for him, and Sunday’s performance won’t help his chances.
The 32-year-old lefty had been pitching well for Syracuse as he entered Sunday sporting a 2.65 ERA with 16 strikeouts and a walk for a WHIP of 0.824.
However, after being handed a quick 2-0 lead, he was roughed up for seven runs by the Wings, five coming in the second when they banged out six hits including a two-run triple by three barrier when Mets center fielder Nick Plummer tried for a diving catch and missed.
He was knocked out in the fourth inning trailing 7-2 and his ERA jumped all the way to 5.31.
Here’s the rest of the day at the ballpark as the Wings finished off the week-long series with four wins in six games to improve to 13-11 on the season.
► Righty Sterling Sharp made his first start of the season for the Wings. He was at extended spring training at the start of the year and didn’t join the Wings until April 12, making three relief appearances before Sunday.
He got off to a rocky start as the Mets jumped to a 2-0 lead, but Sharp – who made 14 starts last year – followed with four scoreless innings and got credit for the victory. His final line from him showed two runs on four hits, no walks and five strikeouts.
“Sharpie had a nice day to cap a good series for us,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “So hopefully we’ll continue to see these guys get better in the strike zone. If they do, with our lineup, we got a chance to do some really neat things.”
► LeCroy went to struggling righty Luis Reyes for the sixth inning in the hope that he could work out some of his troubles. Reyes has made four starts, the last two of which he allowed a combined 17 earned runs, and his ERA from him was a grotesque 15.32 starting the day.
Reyes promptly got tagged for a leadoff double by Plummer and he eventually scored on an unearned run on a wild pitch and a throwing error by the catcher, Barrera, that made it 7-3. Donovan Casey then made a great catch in the right-field corner that saved two runs.
► After a fairly quiet Saturday when they scored only five runs on 13 hits in the doubleheader split, the Wings’ were swinging well again Sunday. They had nine hits including two doubles, a triple and a home run by Nick Banks.
► Dee Strange-Gordon spent the week with the Wings on a rehab assignment, but he’s still trying to find his batting stroke. I have played in four games against the Mets and went 2-for-14.
► Red-hot Luis Garcia hit his first rough patch of the season as he went 1-for-11 in the final three games of the series. Still, his 30 hits from him are second-most in the International League while his 23 runs scored lead the league.
► Speed is such a weapon, and LeCroy loves that his team has some of it this season. Andrew Stevenson literally stole an insurance run in the eighth as he walked, stole second and third, and scored on a sacrifice fly that wasn’t hit terribly deep.
“I thought our at bats were really good throughout this whole series,” LeCroy said. “We constantly put pressure on them throughout the whole thing and then pitching wise I thought we were in the zone more, we got into some better counts than we did in Lehigh Valley. I see some guys going in the right direction on the pitcher’s mound. Guys are throwing the ball over the plate.”
Sal Maiorana can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @salmaiorana.
This article originally appeared on the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Rochester Red Wings defeat Mike Montgomery and Syracuse Mets