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Game Of Inches
by Phil Bencomo
Oh, how the fans wanted that one. The ball left Mike Fontenot's bat, and the crowd, already on its feet with two outs in the last of the ninth, erupted. Surely it was gone, and the game won.
But it was not to be, and Norris Hopper -- perhaps as stunned as the dejected fans who would turn and head for the exits a moment later -- found the ball nestled in his glove with his back against the ivy. "Why can't the ivy eat up a player every once in a while?" I mumbled as I marked on my scorecard -- F9 -- the final out of the game.
If the wind had been blowing like it had earlier in the evening, would the ball have landed in the basket, instead of mere inches from a rousing, come-from-behind victory? Oh, hypothetical goodness.
Carlos Zambrano just didn't have much of anything last night; he labored from the very first inning. And for the second time this season, Zambrano left a start with no strikeouts to his name. The 13 hits he allowed tied a career high.
But, I suppose, all hope is not lost. For a while last night, it looked like the Cubs would drop another game behind -- the Brewers took an early 3-0 lead, and the Cubs were already down by four; fans were groaning -- but St. Louis (suddenly only 4.5 games out) took care of Milwaukee, leaving the Cubs a game and a half back.
And the Cubs managed their first three-homer game in quite some time -- over two weeks, actually. Not coincidentally, Aramis Ramirez was back in the lineup.