To set the scene: the Cubs had gotten off to a slow start, but after Lou Piniella's famous tirade in early June (which could have been another choice for this series), the Cubs went on a 16-8 run entering a weekend series at Wrigley with the first-place Brewers, still trailing by 7½ games.
Rich Hill got pounded in the first inning, giving up five runs, and... well, rather than quote a Tribune or Sun-Times writer's recap, here's what I wrote myself after the Cubs' remarkable comeback:
... the much- and justifiably-maligned Cubs bullpen threw six shutout innings today, allowing three hits, two walks and striking out seven, in relief of Rich Hill, who had a horrific first inning reminiscent of the first inning the Cubs themselves had for Hill in Milwaukee in his first start of the year on April 6. Special props to rookie Billy Petrick, who in his second major league appearance shut down a pretty good hitting team on one hit, with two strikeouts, in his two innings (28 pitches, 21 strikes). So it went into the last of the 9th, the bullpen still mowing down Brewers (only five hits from the second inning on), setting up the last-inning heroics, and give credit to Soriano and Fontenot for the base hits that set up Derrek Lee's sacrifice fly, scoring the fourth run. Ramirez smacked the first pitch he saw into the left-field bleachers, and there was absolutely no doubt from the second it hit the bat that he'd hit a walkoff -- bedlam ensued, both in the stands and at home plate, where the entire team met in the now-traditional "group-jump" that accompanies events like this. Someone pointed out that the Cubs haven't lost since Aramis returned from the DL (even though he didn't play in one of the seven games), and maybe that's not a coincidence. He's hitting .346/.385/.692 in the six games since his return, with 6 runs scored, three doubles, two HR and five RBI, and has played well in the field too (made a great snag on a Ryan Braun line drive in the 4th inning today).
There have been few occasions when Wrigley Field was as loud as it was after A-Ram's walkoff gave the Cubs that 6-5 win over the Brewers. As I wrote seven years ago, that ball was clearly gone the moment it left the bat -- it was the first pitch Francisco Cordero threw to Ramirez -- and you can see a bit of the bedlam in the photo at the top of this post, which shows Ramirez rounding third.
Just to show you how quickly things can change for young players, Billy Petrick, who threw so well that day, pitched in only six more major-league games and was let go by the organization before 2009.
The Cubs were crushed 13-4 the next day by the Brewers, and the race was pretty tight through September, when Soriano's great month (.320/.354/.754, 14 home runs in 122 at-bats) helped lead the team to the N.L. Central title.
I'll never forget the feeling at Wrigley that late-June afternoon, though. Here's hoping we have some of those in the near future.