In fact, they took the suspense out of that with the game's second batter, Darwin Barney, who lofted a soft single into right field. That made this Game No. 7,633 since the Cubs were last no-hit, in the same location, by another Dodger lefthander.
And despite going 2-for-14 with RISP and leaving 13 men on base, the Cubs beat the Dodgers 3-2 Tuesday night, when Kevin Gregg induced Yasiel Puig to hit a little popup to Anthony Rizzo at first base, with Carl Crawford on base representing the tying run.
The Cubs did all this with a lineup that featured three players (Donnie Murphy, Cody Ransom and Cole Gillespie) who weren't even in the organization when spring training began, and two others (Darnell McDonald and Junior Lake) who spent most of this year at Triple-A Iowa. This isn't the sort of lineup that you think could beat someone like Kershaw, but the Cubs kept getting men on base, even though it was all singles and walks, against the likely National League Cy Young winner. Kershaw threw 107 pitches and didn't make it out of the sixth inning. It was just the third time all year -- and first since April -- that Kershaw didn't throw at least six innings.
No, the good starting pitching outing Tuesday night belonged to Travis Wood, who allowed just one unearned run in seven innings of solid work -- and that run was largely due to his own throwing error; a pickoff attempt on Hanley Ramirez sailed way over Ransom's head, and Ramirez scored on a single by Juan Uribe.
The Cubs put together an insurance run in the seventh, though not in a very interesting way; they loaded the bases with nobody out and the run scored when Brian Bogusevic, batting for Ransom, hit into a double play.
For this team, we'll take the runs any way we can get 'em, thankyouverymuch.
That run turned out to be important because the Dodgers nicked Pedro Strop for a run in the bottom of the eighth, making it 3-2 before Gregg came in to end it for his 27th save. That total ranks eighth in the National League, one behind Steve Cishek of the Marlins. Gregg needs just two more saves to tie Mitch Williams for ninth place on the all-time Cubs list.
The Cubs even got to face their old buddy Carlos Marmol, but Don Mattingly thought better of it after a strikeout, a walk and an error, and lifted him in favor of rookie Paco Rodriguez, who retired the Cubs in the ninth without further incident.
Finally, you might have heard about the Rick Monday flag-saving bobblehead (I wrote about it here a couple of weeks ago) that was given to the first 50,000 (paying attention, Cubs marketing?) fans at Dodger Stadium Tuesday night. I received this note from BCBer Ross, who was at the game, about the bobblehead:
Rick Monday had a long career, hitting 241 home runs for the A’s, Cubs and Dodgers, and has long been a member of the Dodgers’ broadcast team. In Dodger lore, he is perhaps best known for his home run off of the Expos’ Steve Rogers in the 1981 playoffs that propelled the team to the World Series. But his most noteworthy moment unquestionably came on April 25, 1976 while a member of the Cubs. Playing center field that day, the former Marine saw two men trying to burn an American flag on the outfield grass. He swooped in and snatched up the flag and ran it into the dugout as the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Tonight, these many years later, Cubs and Dodgers fans alike rose for another standing ovation as Monday delivered a ceremonial first-pitch strike to former teammate and friend Steve Yeager. Kudos to the Dodgers for having the guts and confidence to have a giveaway item that features a guy in the other team’s uniform, and for giving it out when that team was in town. It is one of the cooler bobbleheads I have ever seen and I will be happy to display it. (And we won’t even make fun of them that they got the date wrong on the box –- April 15 rather than April 25.)
I've already ordered one of those for myself via eBay. It's definitely one of the coolest bobbleheads ever, and you know how much I love collecting them.
It's been a weird year in many ways, but this one might rank as the most improbable win of the 2013 season and the Cubs have a shot at winning the series in a game that begins at 2:10 CT. The game preview will post at noon CT.