Home International Mike Tauchman’s walk-off HR gives Chicago Cubs another 7-6 win in City...

Mike Tauchman’s walk-off HR gives Chicago Cubs another 7-6 win in City Series — and sends White Sox to record-tying 13th straight loss

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Mike Tauchman’s first walk-off home run could not have been scripted much better.

Roughly 25 miles from where he grew up in Palatine, in a Chicago Cubs crosstown rivalry game against the White Sox, Tauchman, a metronome in the lineup the last two years, seized the moment. He led off the bottom of the ninth and sent a fastball from Sox closer Michael Kopech into the center-field bleachers to complete the Cubs’ 7-6 comeback victory for the second straight night.

“Every kid dreams of hitting a walk-off home run, so to have that moment, it’s special,” Tauchman said. “It’s something that when it’s all said and done, I’ll look back on it and I’ll always have that be able to smile about.”

Tauchman kept his approach simple. He anticipated Kopech would heavily rely on his four-seam fastball, which accounts for 78.3% of his pitches thrown this season.

“In that situation, I personally feel like trying to be ready for anything else is foolish,” Tauchman explained.

Kopech, conversely, expects major-league hitters to know he predominately goes to his fastball. Both armed with that knowledge, Tauchman bested Kopech on a 1-0, 98.4-mph fastball to set off the Cubs fan faction among the 40,073 people packed into Wrigley Field.

The Sox (15-47) failed to hold on after again producing a big inning against the Cubs — a four-run fourth that put them up 5-1.

“Tough pill to swallow, yeah, of course. It’s not fun,” said Sox starter Erick Fedde, who allowed three runs in five innings. “These games, they mean a lot. I know we haven’t given Sox fans a ton to cheer about this year and these games, at least to me this was my most important game of the season up to this point. Wanted to be a little better, battled, but it sucks we lost.”

For the Sox, their futility only becomes more stark with each defeat. Their 13 consecutive losses ties the franchise’s single-season record from 1924 while setting their worst 62-game start.

Photos: Cubs beat White Sox 7-6 in Game 2 of the City Series at Wrigley Field

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of these guys,” Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “These guys are playing good baseball and they are giving us everything they got and that’s I ask them to do every day. Play as hard as you can and that’s what they are doing.

“There’s nobody to blame here. Everybody here in this locker room is busting their ass to win a baseball game and get back on track.”

The Cubs’ back-to-back comeback victories represented the first time they rallied from at least four runs down in consecutive games against the same team since June 16-17, 1975, versus the Philadelphia Phillies, according to team historian Ed Hartig.

“There’s no drawing up anything here, you just try to win the game and and do it as it presents itself,” manager Craig Counsell said. “We battled.”

Both teams combined for fireworks Wednesday night, making it the first Cubs game that featured a home run on the first pitch and last pitch of the game since May 21, 1987, against the Cincinnati Reds (Tracy Jones and Bob Dernier), via Elias Sports Bureau.

The Sox saw their two-run advantage slip away during the seventh in a sequence befitting of a 15-win team.

The bevy of bad plays featured a hit by pitch, a balk — the Sox’s second of the game — and a wild-pitch scoring walk, which fueled the Cubs’ three-run seventh to put them ahead 6-5.

The inning immediately started off poorly for right-hander Michael Soroka. His first pitch hit Dansby Swanson, and Yan Gomes followed with just his second walk in 84 plate appearances this season. Then, with Tauchman at the plate, Soroka committed a balk to advance Swanson and Gomes. Tauchman’s 11-pitch battle, including five consecutive full-count foul balls, ended with a wild pitch Ball 4 to score Swanson to cut the Sox’s lead to 5-4.

Cubs starter Jameson Taillon, who surrendered five runs including four in the fourth, enjoyed watching Tauchman battle.

“Tauch’s a dog,” Taillon said. “Every time he’s up there you know he’s going to have a tough AB, you know he’s going to be prepared.

“Just a cool story, someone everyone should feel really comfortable rooting for. … Really cool to see him getting an opportunity and getting these moments for his hometown team. I mean, it’s kind of like a movie.”

Cody Bellinger’s one-out sacrifice fly brought home Gomes to tie it in the seventh, and Ian Happ for the second night in a row delivered the big hit with his go-ahead RBI single to center field.

The Cubs’ lead didn’t last one pitch, however. For the second straight night, the Sox pounced on right-hander Hayden Wesneski immediately after falling behind late. Paul DeJong slugged Wesneski’s sweeper left over the middle of the plate for a tying leadoff homer in the eighth.

The Cubs staged their comeback without second baseman Nico Hoerner. He received his first career ejection for arguing with plate umpire Vic Carapazza after a called third strike in the fourth. It left Hoerner watching the walk-off victory in the batting cage so he could get the live, high, home-plate feed.

“There’s something special about Wrigley obviously that we’re all aware of and having seen special things here, and I think that’s a real home advantage to be in a place that you have unwavering support from fans that are going to hold you to a high standard but also there to really cheer you on and root for something special to happen,” Hoerner said. “We’ve seen it happen time and time again here, and I think there’ll be more moments like that.”

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