MILWAUKEE — With a racquet swing, Victor Caratini turned an unforgettable performance into one of the most memorable moments of his career.
After scoring a hit in each of his first four plate appearances, Caratini hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning in front of two-out Scott Effross to give the Milwaukee Brewers a 5-2 win over the Chicago Cubs on Monday to bring.
“It’s a really tough sport,” Caratini said through an interpreter. “You know you will fail. [It’s] only [a matter of] Staying confident, moving on to the next at-bat, knowing that you have another at-bat and need to be able to fight it, help the team win, and move on from there.
His big hit followed an eventful ninth inning with an inside-the-park homer by Chicago’s Seiya Suzuki and a two-out walk by Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich.
Brewers officials said Caratini became the fifth major league player since 1900 to strike in his first four plate appearances in a game before hitting a walk-off homer on the fifth. The others were Mike Schmidt in 1983, Ray Knight in 1986, David Justice in 2001, and Derek Norris in 2015.
Chicago’s only other run came when rookie Nelson Velázquez hit his first career homer in the third inning. According to Stats Perform, this was the first time in major league history that one player hit their first career homer, another an inside-the-park homer, and another a walk-off homer.
Caratini, who played with the Cubs from 2017-2020, hit a 2-1 sinker from Effross (1-4) over the midfield wall for his second career walk-off homer. He also did it for San Diego against Amir Garrett of Cincinnati on June 17, 2021.
“I called it,” Brewers catcher Pedro Severino said. “Because usually when you’re having a rough day, that big moment just comes to you.”
Milwaukee’s Brad Boxberger (3-1) worked his way out of a bases-laden jam in the top of the 10th by defeating Willson Contreras and Ian Happ, who were 3-1 up the count.
“Whatever’s going on, he doesn’t get frustrated and he keeps making attacks,” said Brewers manager Craig Counsell. “He always has his wits about him.”
A game that began as a pitcher duel between Chicago’s Justin Steele and Milwaukee’s Eric Lauer faltered in the ninth inning.
It was 1-all when Suzuki, activated from the injury list earlier in the day, hit a drive from Josh Hader that ricocheted off an angled section of the midfield wall, bounced past midfielder Jonathan Davis and rolled back along the warning lane towards right field.
Davis eventually chased the ball down and threw to second baseman Luis Urías as Suzuki sprinted around the bases. After Urías threw at the plate, Suzuki slipped around Caratini’s attempt to catch the plate.
“Just one of those pieces that you see in this park once every five years,” Counsell said.
Suzuki played for the first time since May 26 due to a sprained left ring finger. He was activated from the injured list earlier in the day.
“Obviously my injury has extended my time out with this team,” Suzuki said through an interpreter. “I was very frustrated. So this game meant a lot to me in a way.”
Hader, who came into the game with a 1.05 ERA, was working for the second straight day after throwing 33 pitches in Sunday’s 2-0 win in Pittsburgh. He also allowed Nico Hoerner a one-out double but left him in third place.
Cubs closer David Robertson failed to defend the lead.
Urías led with a single and with an out, Keston Hiura hit a ground-rule double that bounced over the wall in left midfield.
Robertson beat Jace Peterson but hit Kolten Wong with a pitch to load bases. After the Cubs held a conference on the mound, Robertson stayed in the game, leading Yelich four fields to bring home the tie.
“I had a chance to get out of that, just couldn’t find the hitting zone and just let us miss a win. … We had a chance to win that game and I just went there and screwed it up,” Robertson said.
Willy Adames had an opportunity to win the game in the ninth but knocked out Robertson.
Steele kept Milwaukee shotless in the first four innings and helped the Cubs carry a 1-0 lead into the seventh inning when Severino delivered a two-out and doubles equalized.
Lauer batted nine, walked two and allowed two hits and a run in six innings. Steele also hit nine and threw a career-high 108 pitches while allowing four walks, two hits and a run in 6⅔ innings.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.