CHICAGO – The last time he was at the “Friendly Confines,” there were plenty of cheers and tears from the crowd along with his teammates.
On Friday only screams of joy and applause were needed as Willson Contreras enjoyed another memorable afternoon at Wrigley Field while still in a Cubs uniform.
In his first home game since the trade deadline, when he was surprisingly not traded away as he completes the final year of his contract, the catcher was the hero of the day for the home team at they started a three-game series against the Marlins.
Down 1-0 in the eighth, Contreras brought the crowd to its feet with a two-run blast to left field to give the Cubs the lead. He made his way around the bases enthusiastically and then was trying to fire up the crowd as he went back to the dugout after his 16th homer of the season.
Rowan Wick finished off the game with a save in the ninth as the Cubs snapped a five-game losing streak to begin a six-contest homestand.
The last time Contreras was at the ballpark on July 26th, it looked as if it would be his last game in a Cubs uniform since he was expected to be traded at the deadline. But the team couldn’t find a suitable deal, so the catcher along with outfielder Ian Happ were back in the starting lineup for Friday’s game with the Marlins.
Contreras received an ovation from the crowd as he came to bat for the first time on Friday.
He was behind the plate for a good day for starting pitcher Justin Steele, who tied his career-high for strikeouts with ten compared to just one walk in 93 pitches over 4 2/3 scoreless innings. Miami would get on the board against reliever Erich Uelman in the seventh as Joey Wendle’s single put the Marlins up 1-0.
But that’s when Contreras played the hero of the day in a return to the “Friendly Confines” that wasn’t expected just a few days ago.