Think about this for a moment.
On one of the coldest nights in recent Wrigley Field history -- 34 degrees with a 12 MPH wind blowing in strongly over CF, creating a wind chill of 25 degrees -- one of the slowest runners on the team scored the winning run from first base on a double, after he was safe at first base on what ordinarily would have been a double play ball.
Geovany Soto scored the gamewinner on Tyler Colvin's double, great news for Colvin as he's been badly slumping, and the Cubs beat the Padres 1-0 in 10 innings Monday night, evening up their record once again at 8-8. The Cubs have been at .500 at every win count this year (1-1, 2-2, etc. on to 8-8), the longest such string they've had since 1930.
I have more numbers for you. Carlos Zambrano had 10 strikeouts; it's the first time he's struck out 10 in a game since his no-hitter in 2008. Better than that, he gave up only three singles and a walk in eight outstanding innings, dropping his season ERA to 4.21, and although he didn't get the "win", he looked like the guy who dominated the National League in August and September last year.
Big Z was matched by the Padres' Tim Stauffer, who gave up ... only four singles and a walk. The Cubs did get Starlin Castro to third base in the sixth inning with two out, but he couldn't score. The wind knocked down virtually every ball hit in the air Monday evening by both teams. Until the game-winning run was scored, Castro and the Padres' Cameron Maybin, who went to third base on an Aramis Ramirez error after a Jason Bartlett single, were the only runners to get to third.
Both teams were playing quickly, either because of the cold or that they wanted to get inside and watch the Bulls game, or both. An announced crowd of 36,592 couldn't have been more than about a third of that -- maybe 12,000 -- in the house, and even though the game went to the ninth inning in under two hours, a lot of people left after Len Kasper (dressed in a Snuggie, of all things) sang in the seventh inning. More people took off after the Cubs went out 1-2-3 in the last of the ninth; maybe 2,000 remained for the 10th inning as a light rain began to fall.
After Zambrano was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the last of the eighth, Mike Quade called on Sean Marshall, who immediately gave up a single to Chris Denorfia on his first pitch. After a sacrifice and a strikeout, Quade yanked Marshall for (presumably) the platoon advantage and brought in Carlos Marmol to face Jorge Cantu.
Since it all worked out OK, I guess I can't complain too much. But Marshall can get both righthanders and lefthanders out, and when Marmol hit Cantu with his first pitch, I feared the worst. Marmol, though, settled down and struck out Nick Hundley and had an uneventful 10th before the game-winning bottom of the inning. The game was played in a snappy two hours and 26 minutes, refreshing after the long, long games in Denver the last two days. That time would be fast for a nine-inning game, much less 10, these days.
In his postgame news conference remarks, Quade revealed that Kosuke Fukudome's wife is due to have a baby tomorrow (although he started by saying "Fukudome's going to have a baby", then corrected himself to note that his wife will actually do that). So congratulations to the Fukudomes, and Kosuke started the game-winning inning rally with a one-out walk. Quade said that, weather permitting, Colvin may get a start tomorrow and hopefully build on his game-winning double.
One more bit of history, if you'll indulge me on this cold night. The last 1-0, extra-inning Cubs win at Wrigley Field was this 16-inning win over the Astros on May 31, 2003. Zambrano started that game, too. Tonight marks the ninth time since 1969 that the Cubs have won a 1-0 extra inning game at Wrigley Field. As far as I can tell they have lost only one such game in that timeframe -- to the Cardinals in 11 innings on Sept. 5, 1976.
The Cubs moved to within a game of the first-place Reds after they lost to the Pirates Monday night. The weather forecast for tomorrow is worse than today's -- it's supposed to rain all day and evening. So we'll see if there's baseball. In the meantime, celebrate one of the rarer wins in recent years.