Grand slam for Contreras in Cubs' 9-0 win over Pirates
Willson Contreras joined some elite company Monday when he launched a grand slam into the left-center field bleachers during the first inning of the Cubs' 9-0 victory over the Pirates at Wrigley Field.
Contreras joined Gabby Hartnett and Jody Davis as the only catchers to amass 100 home runs with the Cubs.
Contreras led off the game with a double and scored on Ian Happ's double down the left-field line. After 3 more hits and 2 walks, Contreras strolled to the plate once again and pounced on a 77-mph curveball from Bryse Wilson to give the Cubs an 8-0 lead.
Contreras, who was DHing for the seventh time, became just the 10th leadoff hitter since 1901 to hit a grand slam in the first inning.
"It's good to know that, but it's better when you know that you're the third Cub that has hit 100 homers as a catcher," said Contreras, who is now hitting .283 with 5 HRs and 14 RBI. "Making history for this team, it makes me proud."
Contreras got the ball back from the fan who caught it in the bleachers and will give it to his dad.
"It's going to go to my dad because he knows how hard we worked together to get to the big leagues," Contreras said. "There was a lot of calls during the minor leagues -- a lot of frustration, a lot of obstacles that were in my road.
"But he was a support. He and my mom were there all the time, and this is for them."
Hartnett, considered one of the best catchers of all time, hit 231 home runs for the Cubs from 1922-40. His career high was 37 in 1930, and he was also named MVP in 1935. Davis hit 122 HRs from 1981-87, with a career high of 24 in 1983.
Contreras has three 20-HR seasons since breaking into the majors in 2016.
There's been plenty of speculation that the Cubs will trade Contreras before the deadline because he will be a free agent after this season. Manager David Ross bristled a bit when that subject was broached.
"Let's enjoy that performance and not get into contract talk. That's not my specialty," said Ross, who watched Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez all leave via trade last season. "What I would say about those guys who were here -- and I'll put Willson in that category -- is they're championship caliber players. They've proven that on the biggest stage.
"He's been a big part of a lot of winning here and it's cuz he's a really talented, special player."
Starting pitcher Wade Miley sat down the first 14 Pirates he saw then yielded a two-out single to Michael Chavis in the fifth inning.
Two pitches before singling, Chavis called time as Miley was starting his motion. Home-plate umpire Dan Bellino granted the pause, frustrating the crowd -- and Miley.
"I just told Dan it was a little late," Miley said. "Like I'm already in my leg kick when I hear you start screaming. You don't have to give him time. I understand they're calling time a lot, but you don't have to give it to him. ... He got in there real quick, dug in and then he called time after I've already started. That's a little frustrating."
For the Pirates, who won despite being no-hit by the Reds on Sunday, it was their first hit in 15⅓ innings. It was the only hit Miley (1-0) allowed in 7 innings. The veteran lefty struck out six while throwing 83 pitches.
Happ reached base in all four of his plate appearances, going 3-for-3 with an RBI and 2 runs scored. He raised his average 22 points to .282. Catcher Yan Gomes was 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run.
The Cubs (14-20) snapped a 6-game home losing streak and are now 5-2 in their last seven games.