Cubs 4, Rockies 3 (10)
Only in a parallel universe could such a thing happen. Surely not in our untidy universe could the greatest ballplayers from these two clubs meet in a cosmic battle. No this could not happen anywhere else but here in this unknown place where this writer has been transported to an unfamiliar press box. Wrigley Field looks the same, nearly, but there are a few unexpected things. One being that during the seventh inning stretch instead of singing “take me out to the ballgame,” they sing “get me out to the ballgame”. And instead of hot dogs, the vendors yell, “hot cats, get your hot cats!” It’s the slight differences in parallel universes that make all the difference.
Yes, only in this parallel universe could Sammy Sosa hit a walk-off home run off of Jhoulys Chacin in the bottom of the tenth.
And yes, only in this unknown world could Mordecai Brown (sometimes called “Three Finger Brown” because of a farm machinery accident where he lost parts of two fingers) freeze up Charlie Blackmon on a hanging curveball.
What a glorious time-bending game this is!
The First Third
Taking the bump for the Chicago Cubs in the top of the first was Fergie Jenkins, that splendid righty from Chatham, Canada. Jenkins’ first two innings of work saw little excitement other than a double off the bat of Larry Walker in the first and a pair of walks, one intentional and the other of the mistaken nature. Fergie’s counterpart, Ubaldo Jimenez, a.k.a the Big U, lived up to his nickname, sitting down the first six Cubbies in order. You can bet that Jimenez pulled out the old diary that evening and wrote down his first six victims in order starting with Cap Anson, Ryne Sandberg, Billy Williams, Hack Wilson, Sammy Sosa, and ending with Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks. Not a bad start to the day.
The top of the third is where it got a bit dicey for Fergie. After singling, DJ LeMahieu was forced out at second on a Matt Holliday grounder to Ron Santo at third. With Holliday at first, Walker, who doubled off Jenkins in the first, blasted one into the seats, putting the Rockies up 2-0. Although a bit shaken, Fergie managed to quell the nerves and retire the next two Rockies batsmen without event. In the bottom of the third Jimenez continued his dominance, although he let down the cosmic record keepers by giving up his perfect game on a pair of walks to Gabby Hartnett and Santo. Although an inning-ending double play helped him regain his cheery disposition.
The Second Third
The next three innings of work by our two starters would make any beat cop’s mouth water with anticipation. And if you don’t know what I mean by this then you don’t have the mindset of a gentleman who goes by the name of Homer J. Simpson. To stop the roundabout, Jenkins and Jimenez put up donuts on the old scoreboard. The only play of note was a diving stop in the bottom of the fourth by Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki that started an inning-ending double play and kept the Cubs from putting at least two on the board.
The Third Third
The seventh turned out to be the last inning of work for our two starters. We can only guess that Jenkins’ noodle was feeling on the tired side and in need of some ice because after a 1-2-3 inning we didn’t see his shining face again. And while Jenkins closed out his day on a good note, Jimenez, who had pitched brilliantly all day and continued to through the seventh, left on a slightly sour note after giving up a leadoff home run to Hartnett, leaving the tally at Rockies 2, Cubs 1.
Nobody was happier to see Jimenez leave than the Cubs and they promptly capitalized on this by putting up two in the bottom of the eighth. After sitting down the Rockies in the top of the eighth behind the fresh arm of Three Finger Brown, the Cubs came to the plate to see who they were to be feasting on, and feast they did. The roast beef was to be the arm of Jorge De La Rosa and the man at the dinner plate was Sammy Sosa. With one down, De La Rosa walked Wilson and Sosa came to the plate frothing at the mouth. He found the pitch he wanted and put one in the cheap seats.
No Ninth Inning, Just Kidding
What would baseball be without the ninth inning? Think of all those game-tying and game-winning hits that would never have happened. Well, maybe they would still happen, but they would take place in the eighth inning instead. In this case, the Cubs and Bruce Sutter, the new arm for ninth, would have loved to have one of those eight-inning games, but alas it was not to be so. And Troy Tulowitzki and the Rockies were happy for the ninth because it was then that they sent this contest to extra innings with a blast off of Tulows bat that evened up the score.
The First (And Only) Extra
After Tulowitski led off the ninth with a solo shot not much else happened for the rest of the inning. The Cubs were sad. The Rockies were hopeful. And luckily for both, there is a little thing called extra innings and we don’t have to end this game in a tie. Because what fun is a tie, really?
The Cubs decided to bring in Lee Smith from their cosmic bullpen, which turned out to work well for them. Although he did give up a pair of singles to Nolan Arenado and, you guessed it, Tulowitzki. Smith did just enough to get every Cubs fan’s heart beating quickly and then shut the door.
The Rockies would have loved the same outcome, but Jhoulys Chacin, unfortunately for the Rockies, did not deliver. It only took one swing of the bat from a man who knows how to hit homers to, that’s right, hit a game-winning homer. That man was none other than smiling Sammy Sosa. And as he ran those bases he was, along with every other Cubs fan in every universe, grinning from ear to ear.
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Sammy Sosa, Jhoulys Chacin, Mordecai Brown, Charlie Blackmon, Fergie Jenkins, Larry Walker, Ubaldo Jimenez, Cap Anson, Ryne Sandberg, Billy Williams, Hack Wilson, Ernie Banks, DJ LeMahieu, Matt Holliday, Ron Santo, Gabby Hartnett, Troy Tulowitzki, Jorge De La Rosa, Bruce Sutter, Lee Smith, Nolan Arenado