Patrick Wisdom took off his Cubs jersey and purposely put on his “Schwisdom” t-shirt prior to a postgame interview in the Cubs clubhouse Sunday –a tribute to his pairing with teammate and next-door-lockermate Frank Schwindel.
It doesn’t quite have the same ring as the “Bash Brothers.” But on this day, Schwisdom was just as effective.
With the Cubs in a bind after losing an early three-run lead and headed toward a fifth straight defeat in the eighth inning against the Diamondbacks, Wisdom homered off reliever Ian Kennedy to tie the game and Schwindel followed with a homer of his own that gave the Cubs a 5-4 victory before 32,606 fans at Wrigley Field.
As modest as it is in the big picture, “Schwisdom” might be the best thing the Cubs’ offense has going right now. The duo also hit back-to-back homers in Saturday’s 7-6 loss to the Diamondbacks. It marked the first time the Cubs had the same players hit back-to-back homers in back-to-back games since Ernie Banks and Jim Hickman did it on Aug. 23-24, 1969, per Cubs historian Ed Hartig.
“It was a fun two batters right there,” Schwindel said. “Great team win.”
Wisdom’s homer, a 404-foot drive to left-center with little doubt, came after he lined a ball down the left-field line that looked fair to the Cubs but was called foul. “That’s one of those ones you’re like, ‘Wow that’s super close,'” manager David Ross said. “Willie [third base coach Willie Harris] is usually the guy who has a pretty good idea and he just kind of raised his eyebrows, saying it was pretty close.”
“I thought it was [fair] from my angle,” Wisdom said, “but I think we’ll all take the home run instead. It’s his call, so I just have to regroup and get back in there. I got another good pitch to hit.”
Schwindel followed with a high drive to straight left field that landed three rows into the bleachers, and he sprinted around the bases once he knew it was gone, gleefully celebrating just as Wisdom had done on his home run.
It was the third consecutive game the Cubs have had back-to-back home runs. Christopher Morel and Ildemaro Vargas –did it against Caleb Smith in Friday’s 10-6 loss.
Schwindel acknowledged the difficulty of hitting a home run off a pitcher who has just allowed one. “But I was riding the momentum right there,” he said. “I think that was the intent on the swing. It worked out today. It worked [Saturday]. It’s just a lot of fun when we can do that.”
Until then, the Cubs’ offensive hero was catcher P.J. Higgins, who was called up Sunday with Willson Contreras needing at least a couple of days off because of a strained hamstring.
Higgins, who was 1-for-23 (.043) in a nine-game stint with the Cubs last season before suffering a season-ending forearm injury that required surgery, hit a two-out, bases-loaded triple in his first at-bat this time to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead.
“Nice job of hitting,” Ross said. “Huge knock for us. Huge.”
It was a particularly clutch hit, coming after the Cubs had loaded the bases with no outs before Alfonso Rivas struck out and Andrelton Simmons fouled out.
“Definitely had some emotions,” Higgins said. “Obviously I didn’t have many hits the first go-round, so to get that with the bases loaded was awesome, The whole crowd — the whole atmosphere was awesome to be around. I was a little bit tired running around. But that happens — I don’t hit that many triples. But it was awesome.”