Cubs defend Edwards, Montgomery after 8th-inning collapse

Geoff Burke / USA TODAY Sports

Joe Maddon wouldn't hesitate to call on Carl Edwards Jr. again.

Given the daunting task Saturday of having to retire Bryce Harper in the eighth inning of Game 2 of the NLDS, the Chicago Cubs reliever failed, allowing the Washington Nationals outfielder to muscle a game-tying, two-run blast to get his team back in the game.

Despite the outcome, Maddon is adamant letting Edwards take on Harper was the correct call.

"That was the only option. That was the right option. C.J. was the right man for the job. Harper is good, C.J. is really good," Harper told reporters postgame, according to ASAP Sports. "C.J.'s numbers against left-handed hitters are amongst the best in all of baseball. To say that I did not say anything in a derogatory manner would say I don't have confidence in him. I have all the confidence in the world in him.

"If that happens again, you're going to see C.J. back out there. He made a bad pitch and the guy didn't miss it, and that's it. Sometimes that happens. Bryce is good. C.J. is good. Bryce got him."

After Harper's blast, Edwards walked Anthony Rendon on eight pitches and was then replaced on the mound by Mike Montgomery. Montgomery's outing wasn't much better. After he allowed Daniel Murphy to hit a single, Ryan Zimmerman's three-run home run in the next at-bat effectively put the game out of reach for Chicago after they had entered the eighth inning with the lead.

Cubs starter Jon Lester, who limited the Nationals to just two hits and one earned run over six innings in the loss, voiced his full support for the two relievers after the contest.

"We all have their backs," Lester said, according to ESPN's Jesse Rogers. "We've all been there. Hell, we've all been there. Turn the page."