Among the things you don't expect to see at Wrigley Field these days are standing ovations for Jim Edmonds, three-inning outings by Ted Lilly and a comeback win by the Cubs after they trailed by eight runs in the fifth inning.
But in the 100th anniversary season of the Cubs' last championship, everyone is quickly learning to expect the unexpected.
In their most improbable comeback yet, the Cubs beat Colorado 10-9 on a warm and windy Wrigley afternoon, bouncing back from deficits of 8-0 and 9-1 to turn the ballpark upside-down.
Home runs by Kosuke Fukudome, Edmonds and Henry Blanco ignited the rally, before Mark DeRosa's two-run shot off Manny Corpas capped a six-run seventh inning that stunned the Rockies.
"Those are situations you live for," DeRosa said. "You're just trying to tie the game and pass the baton around. That's the way the team's been rolling. It hasn't been one guy. It's been different guys every night."
The Cubs won their fifth straight game on the homestand and enjoyed their biggest comeback win since beating Colorado 13-12 on June 22, 1999, after trailing 9-1. The biggest deficit they've overcome was nine runs on Aug. 22, 1989, when they trailed Houston 9-0 before winning 10-9.
"What can I say?" manager Lou Piniella said. "That's the description of a comeback win."
For most of the first six innings, the sun-baked crowd of 39,686 had little to cheer about. Lilly had his worst outing of the season, allowing seven runs on eight hits over three innings. After the Rockies took a 9-1 lead in the top of the sixth, Piniella removed Derrek Lee and Geovany Soto, replacing them with Micah Hoffpauir and Blanco, respectively. Ryan Theriot and Aramis Ramirez didn't start, so Piniella was basically conceding the game at that point to give his regulars some rest.
Instead, it looked as if Piniella had the Midas touch. Hoffpauir poked a ground-rule double into the vines in center to start the comeback in the sixth, and Fukudome followed with an opposite-field homer off starter Aaron Cook. Edmonds then hit his first homer as a Cub to make it 9-4, leading to the fateful seventh.
A two-run homer by Blanco and Edmonds' two-run double off Corpas (0-3) pulled the Cubs to within a run, then DeRosa slammed a 3-2 pitch into the left-field bleachers to bring down the house.
"I got excited today," Piniella said. "When DeRosa's ball went out, that's the loudest this place has been this year, by far. It was almost deafening."
But the Rockies still had six more outs, and a one-run lead is never safe at Wrigley when the wind is blowing out at 15 m.p.h. Piniella called on Carlos Marmol in the eighth and watched his primary setup man blow through three Rockies hitters on 10 pitches, getting Scott Podsednik, Seth Smith and Jonathan Herrera all looking at sliders for called third strikes.
"That's what I want," Marmol said. "I feel great. My pitches were all working, throwing sliders for strikes."
Kerry Wood put the tying run on in the ninth with a leadoff walk, but he induced Garrett Atkins to hit into a double play and retired Todd Helton on a fly to right for his 13th save.
As the delirious crowd filed out of the ballpark, singing and dancing and shaking their heads, the Cubs quietly celebrated a wild win that could reverberate through the season.
"Those are the moments you never forget," DeRosa said. "It's still May, but to come back from a 9-1 deficit at your own park in front of 40,000? That was special."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times