Gardner rakes! Yankees stun Cubs in 9th

Gardner rakes! Yankees stun Cubs in 9th

CHICAGO -- The Cubs welcomed Starlin Castro, Aroldis Chapman and Adam Warren back to Wrigley Field with video tributes and hugs on Friday, but Brett Gardner gave the Yankees something to celebrate.

Gardner hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning off Hector Rondon to lift the Yankees to a 3-2 Interleague win over the Cubs. Chapman, a hero in the World Series last fall for the Cubs, pitched the ninth for the save.

"I think we've just got a resilient group of guys," Gardner said. "We love to win and we hate to lose. I think that's important. We established that early on, even in Spring Training. Sometimes that doesn't carry over into the regular season, but for us, it has so far. Hopefully we can keep it up."

Chapman's K ends the game

Rondon was pitching in place of closer Wade Davis, who had appeared in three straight games and was not available. Rondon retired the first batter, then Chase Headley singled and one out later, pinch-hitter Jacoby Ellsbury walked to set up Gardner, who drove a 2-2 slider into the right-field seats.

"We were short in the bullpen," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "That was [Rondon's] game. From the side, it looked like really good stuff. It's an unfortunate choice where he threw it. That's probably the only pitch that Gardner could've hit out, and we gave it to him, and that's what happens in our game sometimes. Otherwise, I thought he had a good fastball and made some good pitches."

Gardner on game-winning HR

Said Cubs catcher Willson Contreras: "It was the right pitch, but it wasn't in the right spot. He missed by this little bit and he paid for it."

This was Castro's first game at Wrigley since he was traded to New York after the 2015 season, and he heard his walk-up music one more time. It also was the first chance Cubs executives had to present Chapman and Warren with their World Series rings for their contributions last year. Girardi has been back to Wrigley since his playing days, so his return was more low key.

Castro's ovation in first at-bat

"I think it's a really emotional day for me to come back here," Castro said, "and to play against the team that gave me my first opportunity to be a baseball player. I feel happy to get here and compete against them."

The Cubs' runs came on solo homers by Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber. Bryant lined a 1-1 pitch from Yankees starter Michael Pineda into the right-field bleachers in the first for his sixth home run. It was a rare opposite-field shot for Bryant, who hit only one of his 39 homers last season to right field.

Schwarber led off the sixth with his fifth homer of the year, launching the first pitch from Pineda into the right-field seats as well.

Contreras reaches on error

The wind was a challenge for newcomers to Wrigley, such as Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge, who had to scramble to try and catch Willson Contreras' fly ball in the fifth. Judge missed, and Contreras reached third on the error.

"I figured out why it's the Windy City," Judge said.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Doubling up: With one out in the first inning, Aaron Hicks doubled and Gary Sanchez was hit by a pitch to set up Castro, who flew out to right. Jason Heyward made a four-star sliding catch, according to Statcast™, his second of the year. Hicks apparently thought it was going to drop and was crossing home plate when Heyward threw to shortstop Addison Russell for the force at second and double play.

Heyward's outstanding catch

"I look at the first time through the lineup, if not for Heyward, we'd probably have a few runs," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Second time through the lineup, if not for Heyward, we'd probably have a couple of runs. You don't see right fielders turning double plays twice in a game."

Said Maddon: "Everybody always looks at batting averages and things of that nature. [Heyward] is such a good baseball player. Even if he doesn't get a hit, he contributes in some way." More >

Rude welcome: With one out in the sixth, Castro beat a throw from third baseman Bryant for a hit, and Judge singled to chase Hendricks. Didi Gregorius lofted the ball to center and it dropped in front of sliding Jon Jay to load the bases. Headley then flew out right and Castro hesitated, then broke for home. Heyward got the ball to Contreras in time, and Castro and the catcher collided, with Castro's right shoulder hitting Contreras in the face. Contreras fell to the ground, but after a few minutes, he was able to get up and walk off the field under his own power.

Heyward's throw, Contreras hurt

"I hit [him] hard," Castro said. "I just tried to go against him and go the opposite direction. I think if I go the other way, I might be safe."

Said Contreras: "It's baseball. Those things are going to happen once in awhile. It wasn't intentional." More >

QUOTABLE
"It was a great baseball game. They got us at the end, give them credit. Nothing was routine in the air today. There were some adventurous fly balls." -- Maddon

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
In the past three seasons, the Cubs were 152-0 when entering the ninth with at least a two-run lead prior to Friday's game.

WHAT'S NEXT
Yankees: Rookie left-hander Jordan Montgomery will make his fifth Major League start as the Yanks continue their three-game visit to Wrigley Field on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. ET. Montgomery last pitched on Sunday against the Orioles and did not record a decision in a 7-4 Yankees loss, permitting three hits and three earned runs in five innings.

Cubs: Brett Anderson may be hoping simply for dry weather Saturday. He had to pitch in the rain and cold on Monday in his last start, and he didn't fare well, giving up seven runs on seven hits over 1 1/3 innings against the Phillies. First pitch will be 6:15 p.m. CT.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.