By Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune –
CHICAGO — Cubs manager Dale Sveum turned the tables on the media Thursday, asking a rhetorical question after an improbable 12-11 comeback victory over the Brewers:
“Anybody else need a nap?”
Everyone, including a season-low crowd of 28,859 at Wrigley Field, was ready for a snooze after witnessing the best and worst baseball has to offer.
In a game that lasted 4 hours, 9 minutes, the Cubs bounced back from a six-run deficit, fell behind 11-9 and scored three runs in the ninth to avoid a sweep in the four-game series.
With a pulled-in outfield, Alfonso Soriano’s single to the left-field wall off Francisco Rodriguez brought home Starlin Castro to give the Cubs their first walk-off triumph since July 29 against the Cardinals.
“Our best win of the year,” Sveum said.
It was poorly played and featured some horrendous pitching but wound up as a Wrigley classic, in a manner of speaking.
“To find ourselves in a 9-3 (hole) … and things were taken for granted and kind of really got ugly there,” Sveum said. “I wasn’t the happiest guy in the world in the fifth inning. Not just (because of) the score, but some things going on. (But) it was nice to see everybody, from the guys on the bench on, battle back. There were multiple heroes.”
The Cubs improved to 7-21 in August, avoiding the possibility of tying their 1999 club record for fewest victories (six) during the month. It was also their first victory when trailing in the ninth since May 6 against the Dodgers.
Soriano, who wasn’t in the starting lineup, said the kids are holding up well during the slump since the summer sell-off began on July 30.
“We have to come every day with a certain energy, maybe a little bit more when we’re losing like we’re losing,” he said.
Rookie Brooks Raley was shelled in his final start, giving up monstrous home runs to Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun. But the Cubs mounted a comeback against journeymen relievers Livan Hernandez and Manny Parra, tying the game 9-9 on Brett Jackson’s two-run double during a six-run sixth. Jackson had two doubles in the inning and was on base four times in the game.
“A couple of huge innings, very fun,” Jackson said. “Awesome big hit by ‘Sori.’ Right guy, right spot.”
The Cubs wound up with 14 hits and a season-high 11 walks. David DeJesus reached base five times, while No. 2 hitter Luis Valbuena was on base four times.
The rare hit parade negated some sleepwalking by Castro, who let Rickie Weeks reach on a routine grounder to short in the fourth, and Bryan LaHair, who watched Weeks tag and go to third on Corey Hart’s fly to shallow right in the sixth. Weeks went 5-for-5 and scored four runs.
Sveum admitted he “probably would have to write everything down” to remember all the missteps but specifically mentioned his pitchers’ pitch selection and ignoring Weeks’ speed.
“Everybody in this country knows how hard Rickie Weeks plays the game, and how hard he runs,” he said. “And we were just taking things for granted.”