Edwards, Montgomery seal historic final frame

Young reliever gets first two outs in 10th before midseason pickup ends it

Edwards, Montgomery seal historic final frame

CLEVELAND -- The final three outs of the Cubs' first championship season in more than a century were produced not by the powerful arm of Aroldis Chapman, but by a skinny right-hander who started the year at Triple-A Iowa and a lefty middle reliever who was property of the Seattle Mariners until late July.

Carl Edwards Jr. got the first two of those outs before yielding the last to Mike Montgomery, who, considering the context, may have earned the most significant save in baseball history when Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo converted a Michael Martinez grounder into the final out of the Cubs' 8-7 victory in Game 7 of the World Series.

• Shop for Cubs World Series champs gear

Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 25 CLE 6, CHC 0 video
Gm 2 Oct. 26 CHC 5, CLE 1 video
Gm 3 Oct. 28 CLE 1, CHC 0 video
Gm 4 Oct. 29 CLE 7, CHC 2 video
Gm 5 Oct. 30 CHC 3, CLE 2 video
Gm 6 Nov. 1 CHC 9, CLE 3 video
Gm 7 Nov. 2 CHC 8 CLE, 7 (10) video

"I don't even know what I did. I don't remember how. I just remember it was a ground ball to third," said Montgomery. "I didn't know what to do. It was unbelievable."

Amid the pile of Cubs players on the field, it was another reliever, Justin Grimm, who told Montgomery what he'd done.

"He said, 'You're going to be in every highlight video for the Cubs, forever,'" Montgomery said. "That's a cool feeling. I threw two pitches and got the guy out. It's almost too unbelievable to have that happen, but I was ready for the moment. Now we're world champs."

The Cubs acquired Montgomery from Seattle in a four-player swap on July 20. They got Edwards in a trade, too, three years earlier. He was one of three prospects sent by the Rangers to the Cubs for Matt Garza in 2013, when Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were still in rebuilding mode.

Edwards made it to Double-A the next season, touched the Majors at the end of 2015 and became an increasingly effective reliever for manager Joe Maddon after a June callup to the Cubs. A hard-throwing righty with one of Major League Baseball's highest spin rates, giving his fastball a rising effect to hitters, Edwards this postseason has pitched in spots previously reserved for more seasoned relievers Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon.

Both were available to Maddon for the 10th inning Wednesday, after Chapman had surrendered a three-run lead and the teams remained locked in a 6-6 tie after nine innings. But after the Cubs scored twice in the top of the 10th, Maddon's choice was 25-year-old Edwards.

Edwards Jr. strikes out Napoli

Edwards struck out Mike Napoli and retired Jose Ramirez on a grounder, but then walked Brandon Guyer, who took second on indifference and scored on a Rajai Davis single. Enter Montgomery for the final out.

"I felt confident," Maddon said. "You saw C.J. get the two quick outs and all of a sudden it got away a little bit, so you have to have somebody prepared in that moment. But I do know one thing, I know C.J. will be better for that next year. I do know that."

Montgomery threw two curveballs, getting Martinez to bounce the second toward the third baseman Bryant.

Kris Bryant smiles during final out

"When it was hit, I thought it might have been too slow. I thought about going after it," Montgomery said. "K.B. must have been positioned perfectly, because when I turned, he was right there and it was in his glove."

Montgomery on getting final out

The day he was traded to the Cubs, Montgomery's first incoming call was from Chicago GM Hoyer. On Wednesday, following the final out, the two men met near the mound.

"He came up to me and hugged me and said, 'Hey, this is why we got you,'" Montgomery said. "I just told him thanks for getting me. It was a pretty cool moment."

For Cubs fans, it's a moment etched in history.

Adam McCalvy has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.