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When You Come By, Bring My Stomach

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Those of you who are of "a certain age" will remember that title as the phrase Jack Brickhouse used to use on game telecasts where the Cubs got out of a really tough spot.

It would have been screamed last night. The ninth inning of the Cubs' excruciatingly exciting 3-2 win over the Astros had all the earmarks of yet another disaster.

Bad-bounce single. Triple. Walk. (Yes, I saw all your anguished comments in the game thread.) Looked like a repeat of the night before, didn't it?

And then the wrongly (in my mind) maligned Ryan Dempster got Eric Munson to hit a ground ball right to Derrek Lee, almost to the exact spot where the first ball of the inning, the freak-hop single by Mark Loretta, had bounced off first base. Lee slung it over to Ryan Theriot, in that graceful style we've seen so many times, for a forceout, and then Theriot, hurrying as he's never hurried before, lasered it back to Dempster covering first, just -- and I mean just -- getting Munson to end the game, and as you surely know, had he not done so, the game would have been tied, Mike Lamb had already crossed the plate from third base after his triple.

Whew! Cub Nation exhales. Lou Piniella said: "This type of game really should get us on a roll. You have to think that the worm has turned. You've got to start feeling like things are going to go your way."

It feels that way, doesn't it?

Everything else worked the Cubs' way last night. Cliff Floyd hit what was only his second HR since June 26 -- way, WAY up into the second deck in right field, one of the monster bombs he used to hit while he was a Met, and a Marlin, and a Red Sock, and even an Expo (doesn't it seem about 50 years since there even were "Expos"?). If Uncle Cliffy can keep hitting like this for the next two and a half -- no, strike that, make that the next SIX and a half weeks, good things are going to follow.

And hey! The Cubs have another starting pitcher. Rich Hill matched his fine effort in Houston from August 6, throwing seven innings of three-hit ball, allowing only a solo HR (last time: Carlos Lee. This time: Mark Loretta), and striking out three (last time: two). THIS time, he also got a win for his performance.

Hill won his ninth game of the season. If he wins one more, the Cubs will have two left-handed starters with ten or more wins. The last time that happened was in 1961, when both Dick Ellsworth and Jack Curtis won ten. That's more a testament to the lack of lefthanded starters over the years than to Curtis and Ellsworth really being any good in '61 (both had losing records, Curtis 10-13 and Ellsworth 10-11). The last time the Cubs had an actual good team with two double-figure-winner left-handed starters was the 1935 team which had Larry French (17-10) and Roy Henshaw (13-5, his only good season).

It's been a long time, right? It's been a long time for a lot of things. Keep winning. As Lou said, winning a game like that could spur a team on to a real roll. Keep the faith. And Happy Rosh Hashanah to all Jewish BCB readers.

Once again, there's a day game involving one of the Cubs' divisional rivals, this time the Cardinals, who are playing the Reds at 11:35 am Central time.

Here's the MLB.com Gameday for the Cardinals/Reds game.