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Willson Contreras’ 1st-inning grand slam — his 100th career home run — sparks the Chicago Cubs’ 9-0 win

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Willson Contreras’ 1st-inning grand slam — his 100th career home run — sparks the Chicago Cubs’ 9-0 win

Willson Contreras started getting emotional in the dugout after he crushed a first-inning grand slam Monday night.

The slam punctuated an eight-run first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates, all the offense the Chicago Cubs needed in a 9-0 win at Wrigley Field. Left-hander Wade Miley locked down the Pirates lineup, tossing seven scoreless innings and allowing just one baserunner for the Cubs’ third straight victory.

Contreras’ fourth career grand slam was bigger than what it meant within the context of the game. It was the 100th home run of Contreras’ career, a milestone that prompted emotional thoughts in the dugout of the Venezuelan native’s winding baseball journey.

“The whole thing that I went through in the minors came to mind,” Contreras said. “I mean, the road is not easy, but if you put the right work in, you might get there. Today is one of those days that made me think of my childhood, where I came from. It makes me proud.”

Contreras jumped a first-pitch hanging curveball from Pirates right-hander Bryse Wilson for the 422-foot grand slam. After the game, he received his 100th home run ball from the fan who caught it, exchanging a couple of balls and a bat and taking some photos with the fan.

Contreras plans to give the memento to his dad, Wuiliam.

“He knows how hard we work to get to the big leagues and there was a lot of calls during the minor leagues, a lot of frustration, a lot of obstacles that were in my road,” Contreras said. “But he was a support. He and my mom (Olga) were there all the time and this is for them.”

Contreras’ 100th home run was notable on multiple levels:

  • He became the third Cubs catcher to reach the mark, joining Gabby Hartnett (231 homers) and Jody Davis (122).
  • According to Elias Sports Bureau, Contreras — who led off the first with a double — is the first Cub with a grand slam and an extra-base hit in the same inning since Wildfire Schulte on Aug. 16, 1911.
  • Contreras is one of just 10 leadoff hitters since 1901 with a first-inning grand slam. George Springer, in 2016 for the Houston Astros, is the only other player to accomplish the feat in the last 35 years.

“Unbelievable, man,” catcher Yan Gomes said. “He’s probably one of the better players in this game, and you can see when he gets hot, it’s not just like a couple of base hits. It’s like there’s no stadium that can hold him. So it’s nice to have him on our side.”

The Cubs sent 13 batters to the plate in the first with three of their eight hits going for extra bases. Ian Happ, Gomes, Andrelton Simmons and Rafael Ortega each recorded an RBI before Contreras’ grand slam.

Watching Contreras’ special moment reminded manager David Ross of his 100th career home run, which he hit in 2016 at Wrigley during the last of his 15 big-league seasons. Ross laughed when noting how it took him a lot longer to hit the mark than Contreras, who just turned 30 in his seventh season.

“He’s got to do a lot of cool things early on in his career, and it’s why he’s such a special player,” Ross said.

Miley didn’t need any more offensive support after the eight-run first. He utilized his natural quick pace and an aggressive approach that allowed him to rack up outs with an efficient pitch count.

Miley tallied six strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter after issuing five walks in three innings during his season debut Tuesday in San Diego.

“I mean, guys know what I’m going to do,” Miley said. “I’m going to throw stuff in hard and soft away. But I have to be able to command it.”

Miley’s lone baserunner came on Michael Chavis’ two-out single in the fifth. Cubs fans booed Chavis as he reached first base after he stepped out of the box twice during the at-bat. The second time call frustrated Miley because he was already going into his delivery when plate umpire Dan Bellino stopped him to award Chavis’ request.

The Pirates second baseman hit the next pitch into left to end Miley’s perfect game.

“The second one was a little late,” Miley said. “I’m already in my leg kick when I hear (Bellino) start screaming. You don’t have to give him time, so I was just letting Dan know that I understand they call time a lot but you don’t have to give it to him.

“I‘m working quick, I’m coming at you, and if you want to step out, step out — I’m going to keep doing it, I don’t really care.”

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Sept. 1 trial status hearing scheduled for teen in killing of Chippewa Falls girl, 10

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Iliana (Lily) Peters family photo

MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin teenager accused of killing a 10-year-old girl will find out in September whether he will stand trial.

Chippewa County Circuit Judge Benjamin Lane on Friday scheduled a Sept. 1 preliminary hearing for the 14-year-old boy, identified in court documents as C.T.P.-B. That’s the step in the criminal justice process where a judge determines if enough evidence exists to bind a defendant over for trial.

The body of Iliana (Lily) Peters, 10, was found in the woods near her aunt’s house in Chippewa Falls, Wis., on April 25, 2022, the day after her father reported her missing. (Courtesy of the Chippewa Falls Police Department)

The boy was charged in adult court on April 27 with first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree sexual assault and first-degree sexual assault of a child under age 13 in connection with the killing of Iliana Peters, who was known as Lily. Anyone who is at least 10 years old and is accused of first- or second-degree homicide is considered an adult in Wisconsin’s court system.

Lily disappeared on the night of April 24 as she was riding her bike home from her aunt’s house in Chippewa Falls, according to the criminal complaint. Searchers found her body in the woods the next morning.

The boy told investigators that he was riding his hoverboard alongside Lily on a trail and he intended to sexually assault and kill her, according to the complaint.

He asked Lily to leave the trail and explore the woods with him. According to the complaint, he told investigators that once they were off the trail, he punched her, hit her with a stick and strangled her before he sexually assaulted her body.

The boy’s attorney, Michael Cohen, told Lane on Friday that he was upset that someone posted a video online that included recordings of police communications in the moments Lily’s body was found and that characterized the boy as a “little monster.” Cohen alleged that someone in law enforcement leaked confidential information to the poster and demanded the judge issue a gag order. He didn’t specify against whom, though.

Lane asked Cohen for the link to the video and stated that anyone with access to investigatory materials should keep them confidential and their release could jeopardize the boy’s right to a fair trial.

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Sainted & Tainted: Half of my summer is gone because you didn’t yield

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Sainted & Tainted: Half of my summer is gone because you didn’t yield

Tainted & Sainted

Tainted: June 3, between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. at Johnson Parkway and Sixth Street. The male driver in a black pickup didn’t yield to me and crossed into the bike path where I fell under the bike to avoid hitting your truck. All you did was sit in the truck and say you’re sorry. You left as soon as I got off the street. Half of my summer is gone because of this.

Tainted: Whoever designed this bike path. Hardly anyone stops at the stop sign. Just stop at the corner. Many close calls to me and I’ve told all to stop. Maybe put a yield sign or stop signs on the west side of Johnson. They don’t know how to yield.

Sainted: To the one driver who asked if I was OK. Much appreciated. Felt fine at the time but did break my elbow.

Barb Anderson, St. Paul

 

Tainted

I think It would be desirable if those responsible for the St. Paul skyway system could maintain uniform hours for the operation of the system.

They have posted operating hours indicating a close of 11 p.m., but this is contradicted by one posting indicating a 12 p.m. closing. The reality is that neither apply as I discovered this past Saturday when returning to my apartment from a downtown restaurant.

The location in the general vicinity (east) of the Subway operation was closed at 10 p.m. This is not the first time this has happened to me. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect uniform operating hours to be observed.

Roger A. Godin, St. Paul

 

Sainted

An incredible Sainted to Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater. I had surgery this past Tuesday and had never been there before. The care I received was phenomenal. The staff was incredible and compassionate.

I was on the first floor and it was like a party when they came in for vitals, etc. Kelly always referred me to as The Boss. Thank you for such kindness and for helping me through such a painful surgery. And an even bigger shout out to my personal paramedics Shawna S. and Mary F.  Thank you both so much for everything. I’d be lost without you.

Laura McGinn, St. Paul

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ASK IRA: Could another Heat run at Kevin Durant be in the cards?

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ASK IRA: Could another Heat run at Kevin Durant be in the cards?

Q: Ira, we’ve been burned by Kevin Durant before. We can’t be fooled into fool’s gold again. – Ian.

A: Look, this whole Brooklyn Nets-will-implode storyline is so bizarre, so speculative, so seemingly preposterous that perspective needs to be toned down all around on the possibilities of both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant departing. But to your question, this also is an opportunity to address the notion of the Heat being “burned” when coming up short in free agency, including when Pat Riley and Micky Arison traveled to the Hamptons in an attempt to woo Kevin Durant during 2016 free agency. It was the same narrative when the Heat “came up short” with Gordon Hayward (and even to a degree the supposed previous “failure” to nab Kyrie). Being mentioned in such speculation means your franchise has earned the respect of players and agents. That is a good thing. The Heat get into the room (unless it’s LeBron’s Las Vegas suite). And if Kevin Durant does attempt to work his way elsewhere, they likely will be back in the room.

Q: Nikola Jovic seems a bit slow footed when I watch his clips. I’d like to see him get serious playing time in Sioux Falls, so he can adjust to the NBA speed. – James.

A: But I’m not sure the G League game, which can be helter skelter at times, is the preferred tempo, either. This could be more along the lines of Omer Yurtseven’s rookie season with the Heat, where it will be mostly developmental, with some as-needed time as warranted/merited. Remember, Nikola Jovic will become the youngest Heat player ever to appear in a game in the franchise’s 35 seasons. That has to be about patience, for more than just foot speed.

Q: Ira, you listed players the Heat passed on to get Nikola Jovic. Who would you have preferred? – Anthony.

A: So basically you’re asking me to trump my preference in the moment at the 2020 draft for Desmond Bane? I’m not sure there is anyone in that category this year. But of those selected after Nikola Jovic (who I think can turn into an inspired choice), I do believe that Patrick Baldwin’s skillset could still yield something special and was curious about E.J. Liddell as a Heat fit. But I don’t believe there is a reason for second guessing when you’re talking about No. 27.

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