A fortunate bounce comes along every once in a while to change a team's luck, like a ball that gets lost in the Wrigley Field ivy or rolls down a drain pipe.
The Cubs may have gotten one of those bounces during the first inning of Wednesday's 2-1 victory over Milwaukee, but whether it will get them on a roll remains to be seen.
With runners on first and second and two outs, Moises Alou hit a topper a few feet off the plate between home and third that looked certain to roll foul.
But the ball managed to take a right turn after hitting a patch on the infield grass near the foul line, swiftly changing direction like a lost hubcap rolling down the Dan Ryan Expressway.
Alou had an infield hit, and when Mark Bellhorn followed with a bases-loaded walk the Cubs had their first run.
They added another on Damian Miller's RBI single in the fourth, and Shawn Estes made it hold up as the Cubs avoided being swept in a series for the first time under manager Dusty Baker.
After a day off Thursday, the Cubs meet St. Louis in the first showdown of the two early front-runners in the National League Central.
"It is early, but it's nice to look up there and not see us on the bottom of the page," closer Joe Borowski said. "It's kind of inspirational to us to know we are playing hard and the standings are reflecting it. But it is really early."
Borowski picked up his sixth save in six opportunities, surviving a hairy ninth by striking out pinch-hitter John Vander Wal and Royce Clayton with runners on first and third.
Baker used Antonio Alfonseca in the eighth to get to Borowski, and the role reversal of closer and setup man worked well. After the way the Cubs played in Tuesday night's loss, a win was paramount in Baker's mind.
"What happened [Tuesday night] is over with," Baker said. "You've got to be resilient. You have to forget yesterday. Sooner or later we're going to be playing like this most days. [But] we're still capable of having a few bad days like [Tuesday] too."
Estes pitched seven innings to even his record at 3-3, allowing three hits while walking five and striking out seven. He was aided by three double plays, including one with the bases loaded in the Brewers' fourth.
"I'm a ground-ball pitcher," Estes said. "When things are going right, the grass definitely plays in my favor."
Now come the Cardinals, a rivalry Baker doesn't really know much about yet. A St. Louis cab driver filled him in.
"I know it's a hot ticket," Baker said. "I remember one time I was in St. Louis last year and the Cubs had just left. The cab driver told me how sad he was because Cubs fans had left town. I asked him why and he said, 'They spent a lot of money and raised a lot of hell around town.'"Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times