CHICAGO (AP) — Matt Szczur merely needed a fly to win the game. He just didn't think — and neither did anyone else at Wrigley Field — that the ball he hit would do the trick.
That is, until Pittsburgh right fielder Gregory Polanco took a most startling trip.
Polanco slipped and fell while trying to catch an easy fly, and the ball dropped for an RBI single in the 12th inning that sent the Chicago Cubs over the Pirates 11-10 Friday.
"That's not how we drew it up," a stunned Szczur said. "That's for sure."
The Cubs won their fifth straight game in unlikely fashion, and matched their longest string since last June.
Chicago loaded the bases with one out in the 12th against Radhames Liz (0-1) and the Pirates went to a five man infield. Szczur lifted a routine fly to shallow right, surely not deep enough to score the winning run.
Polanco came running in with plenty of time to make the grab, then stumbled to the ground. He reached up with his bare left hand trying to make a play, but had no chance.
"He didn't have to go far to get the ball and then he made a little move to his left and crossed his feet," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "That just took him out of the play, took him down to the ground."
Said Szczur: "I couldn't believe it. I just couldn't believe it."
Polanco wasn't at his locker in the immediate aftermath of the loss.
A crazy ending, considering that in the exact same situation in the 10th — bases loaded, one out — Polanco caught a longer fly by Szczur and threw out Castro at the plate to end the inning.
Rookie Kris Bryant hit his fourth homer and drove in four runs, helping the Cubs take a 10-5 lead into the eighth inning.
The Pirates scored four times in the eighth on a solo homer by Josh Harrison and a three-run shot from Andrew McCutchen.
Ahead 10-9, Cubs reliever Hector Rondon retired the first two batters in the ninth. Harrison followed with a double, moved up on a wild pitch and scored the tying run on Francisco Cervelli's two-out single.
Cervelli hit a three-run double as part of a four-run rally in the sixth that pulled Pittsburgh to 7-5.
Bryant hit his third home run this week. Anthony Rizzo also homered and drove in two runs for Chicago, which improved to 4-1 in extra-inning games this season.
"It really would have been a sin not to have won that game based on how we played," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.