Contreras -- who was called up Friday and had appeared only as a defensive replacement -- was in the bullpen when he found out he was going to pinch-hit for pitcher Kyle Hendricks in the sixth inning. Moments later, Contreras walked to the plate ready, he said, not nervous. Contreras came up to the sound of a standing ovation. He said he was trying to hit a single.
When Pirates right-hander A.J. Schugel left a changeup high, Contreras exceeded his own dreams.
"I was ready for my first Major League at-bat, but I didn't imagine it was going to be a homer," Contreras said.
As the ball cleared the wall, Wrigley Field erupted with fans cheering the official merger between present and future. There was a noticeable shake throughout the old stadium.
Contreras rounded the bases, pointing to the sky as he came around first. He was met with hugs at home plate and joy in the dugout.
"It's an amazing feeling," Contreras said. "It's incredible. I don't have the words to explain how happy I am to be here."
For the second consecutive game, the Wrigley crowd gave a catcher a curtain call. One night ago, it was 39-year-old David Ross, who hit a go-ahead homer as part of his magical final season. This time, it was Contreras, who ended his first at-bat in storybook fashion because for once, things in Chicago keep going according to plan.
"That's how it should be, I think," Hendricks said. "That was awesome to see. I'm happy for him. I hope to see a lot more of it. He can definitely swing."
In his postgame press conference, Cubs manager Joe Maddon noted the home run was special. Then he asked, "How many times has that happened in Cubs history?"
A small debate broke out over some of the superlatives. Contreras became the 27th player in history and the first Cub to homer as a pinch-hitter in his first at-bat. He is the first Cub to homer in his first at-bat since Jorge Soler in 2014. Contreras is also the first Cub to homer on his first pitch since Jim Bullinger in 1992. The list could go on.