Whatever works, keep it coming!
At this writing that puts the Cubs two games out of first place -- which is now inhabited by the Cardinals, who moved 0.5 games ahead of Milwaukee. That's as close as they have been to the top spot in six weeks, since May 17, and moved them over .500 for the first time since June 23. If the Cardinals beat the Reds tonight, the Cubs move into third place. If the Reds beat the Cardinals, the Cubs will be 1.5 games out.
Carlos Zambrano, despite hitting Prince Fielder (he said in his postgame remarks that he was trying to pitch inside and it got away. I believe him, and the pitch that hit Derrek Lee in the bottom of that inning was definitely a purpose pitch. Enough!), had good command today, getting ten outs on ground balls and walking only three. He helped himself with an RBI single in the fifth, tying the game, hitting righthanded against RHP Jeff Suppan. Why? In the postgame press conference, Z revealed that his left wrist has been bothering him, so he decided to hit all righthanded today. Clearly, that didn't bother his pitching.
The Cubs also got a solid inning out of Aaron Heilman and two excellent innings from Kevin Gregg, who undoubtedly will not be available tomorrow after having thrown 40 pitches. Gregg had to get an extra out after Milton Bradley dropped a fly ball. I'm going to say about that play only this: it didn't hurt the team, since no runs scored. And right field in Wrigley is a tough field to play. But I believe an outfielder with the "good defense" reputation Bradley has, must make that play.
Lou hinted that "adjustments" will be made to the lineup tomorrow, not saying what they'd be. I suspect it may include dropping Alfonso Soriano down in the lineup, because at this point he's hurting the team hitting leadoff. Sam Fuld, who came in for defense in the ninth and nearly won the game with a sharp line drive that would have been a game-winning single had it been a couple of feet higher (and what was Mike Fontenot doing straying off 2B in that situation?), might wind up starting in CF or RF tomorrow and leading off.
Meanwhile, there were other heroes: Kosuke Fukudome, who had two walks sandwiching a double play with a runner on third and one out, made the defensive play of the game in the seventh inning, taking a convenient hop on a Fielder single and gunning down Jeff Suppan trying to score. I couldn't believe that the Brewers' 3B coach, Brad Fischer, sent Suppan, with the hot-hitting Casey McGehee due up next and Z about out of gas. But it all worked out in the Cubs' favor.
In the 10th inning, Ryan Theriot singled and went to second on a wild pitch. In retrospect, that was likely the key play of the inning because otherwise, the Brewers probably would have pitched to Bradley with two out. Instead, they put him on and Brewers reliever Mark DiFelice couldn't throw strikes to pinch-hitting Geovany Soto (nice game, incidentally, for backup Koyie Hill, who went 2-for-4 and blocked the plate nicely on the Suppan play), running the count to 3-0 and then also putting him on intentionally. Sometimes when that happens, pitchers lose their command, and DiFelice then ran the count to 3-1 on Jake Fox. Fox decided to swing at 3-1 -- a pitch that was probably a strike -- and fouled it off, then fouled off three more pitches before taking the winning ball four, a really nice at-bat.
It was a team victory, always nice to see, and the Cubs are now 5-3 against the Brewers this year. Keep it going tomorrow.
True Prince Fielder story, relayed to me by a friend who often waits outside Wrigley for autographs while visiting players are arriving. Fielder came in a taxi, got out and signed and posed for photos for about 20 minutes, by all accounts being friendly to everyone. Then one of the people who sells candy for fundraising purposes came up to him with the usual sales pitch. Fielder gave him a $100 bill and took the entire box. True story.
Finally, I wanted to say a couple of words here about the use of profanity during game threads. My own personal policy is that I want to keep profanity, whether mild or rougher, to an absolute minimum here. That said, I understand where, in the heat of the moment in a tense game situation, some profane words can come out. (They do for me in the bleachers, too, and I once wrote on this site regarding this issue, "I don't mind the occasional 'fuck'", which resulted in gales of laughter by virtually everyone here.) So with that in mind, I'd like everyone to relax a little about this issue. If there's a VERY occasional curse word, I'm OK with it -- and don't want anyone to come down too hard on someone else in a game thread. If it gets to be repetitive or abusive toward other posters, though, that's definitely not OK. Hope that clarifies things.
Go Cubs. Keep on this nice roll.