Cubs deal with crazy, walk away with win

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Cubs deal with crazy, walk away with win

By Paul LaTour
CSNChicago.com Contributor

On a crazy Sunday across major league baseball, the Cubs did their part in adding to it.

David DeJesus drove in the winning run with a bases-loaded walk in the 11th inning as the Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 in the rubber match of a three-game series against one of the National Leagues top teams.

A walk-off walk, its kind of weird, DeJesus said. I didnt know what to do, just trot on over to first base. But that was a good win for us. This could be a momentum builder for us.

The crazy thing for DeJesus was that he saw not one, but two ball fours against Dodgers right-hander Jamey Wright (1-2). Unlike the first, DeJesus was able to hold up on the second one to score Darwin Barney.

I was going to be aggressive on the 3-1 pitch and drive the ball the opposite way, DeJesus said of whiffing on what appeared to be ball four. At 3-2 I wanted to lock back in. I was able to see it early and know it was a ball.

DeJesus heroics came after he was thrown out at the plate trying to score the winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a Tony Campana double. It was only the second hit of the game for the Cubs with runners in scoring position after numerous chances throughout. They finished 2 for 15 in that category.

Need more crazy? The Cubs were so depleted on the bench from a virus running rampant through the clubhouse they needed Ian Stewart to pinch-hit in the ninth after he was kept out of the starting lineup because of said virus.

Stewart came through with a single and eventually scored the tying run on Campanas double despite being so sick he couldnt see straight.

Stewart was about as sick as you could be, manager Dale Sveum said. And he came up with a huge hit. That was an interesting game -- it took us almost all 25 guys to do it, let alone (needing) the sick guys coming off the couch.

Wait, theres more.

Emergency starter Travis Wood threw six innings despite allowing all three runs and all four hits against him in the first three innings. He retired the final 11 batters he faced after a two-run home run to Juan Rivera that gave the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.

Wood threw 100 pitches, but only 28 after needing 72 to get through those initial three frames. Oh, and for good measure, he collected a pair of hits to tie his career high. That included a third-inning double that led him to eventually score on a two-run single by Starlin Castro -- the Cubs only other hit with runners in scoring position.

My pitches really started working toward the end of the (third) inning, said Wood, who started in place of virus-victim Matt Garza. I didnt feel like I was nervous or anything, but I dont know, I probably was and didnt know it.

The Cubs were able to load the bases in the 11th thanks to a little more craziness. Jeff Samardzija -- Mondays scheduled starter -- was called upon to pinch-hit after Barney doubled and Welington Castillo was intentionally walked to start the inning against Wright.

Instead of bunting as planned, Samardzija reached when he was hit by a pitch. DeJesus followed with the winning walk.

Still need more craziness? Dont forget the game started 2 hours and 41 minutes late after a delay caused by two separate thunderstorms passing through the area.

When everything was finally finished, the Cubs came away with only their second series win of the season. They did it against a team that began the day tied for the NL lead with the Washington Nationals.

Talk about crazy.

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Normally upbeat and positive, Jim Thome can’t help but beam with pride when asked about his Hall of Fame candidacy.

Thome, who blasted 612 career home runs, including 134 with the White Sox, is eligible for induction for the first time in 2018. Even though he’s expected by many to one day be voted into Cooperstown, perhaps even in his first year, Thome said he’s merely honored to be on the ballot. Thome is joined on the ballot by Chipper Jones and former teammate Omar Vizquel, among others. Voting begins in December and the results will be announced next January.

“To even be on the ballot and thought of, it would be the greatest honor I think you could get,” Thome said. “Or if you get an opportunity to go into the greatest fraternity baseball has or created, it would be indescribable. How do you ever think as a kid or a high school player or even going through the minor leagues, that you’d play at the big leagues that long? And then to get an opportunity at the end of your career to be put on the ballot is so great.

“That would be the coolest moment ever.”

Thome – who is in White Sox camp as a special assistant to the general manager – provided plenty of big moments in a career that spanned 22 seasons. He hit 30 home runs in 12 of 13 seasons between 1996-2008, leading the league with 47 in 2003. The slugger was a five-time All-Star and produced 72.9 b-Wins Above Replacement.

[RELATED: Brett Lawrie trying to clear final hurdles]

Thome isn’t as superstitious about his candidacy as others previously have been. He won’t be the guy to bring up the topic, but the Peoria, Ill.-native doesn’t shy away from discussing it, either.

“It’s not something you talk a lot about,” Thome said. “We’re not going to bring it up. But when people do bring it up, there’s a sense of pride, a sense of ‘Wow, baseball has thought that highly to put you on the ballot.’ And the fact that there’s just this wonderful fraternity of incredible players that you could be a part of, if you’re chosen.”

Cubs manager Joe Maddon misses his chance to guest-star in ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

Cubs manager Joe Maddon misses his chance to guest-star in ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

MESA, Ariz. – This is a big bowl of wrong: Cubs manager Joe Maddon might have missed his only window to make the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" cameo appearance Jeff Garlin promised. 

Garlin – a Second City alumnus and one of several celebrity fans within the team's orbit – had offered Maddon a role whenever Larry David brought the band back together for the loosely scripted HBO comedy.

But last week's Cactus League media event at the Arizona Biltmore conflicted with filming in Southern California, where "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is working on a ninth season after a five-year hiatus.

"There was one matchup, and I couldn't get there," Maddon said before Sunday's World Series rematch against the Cleveland Indians at Sloan Park. "I just couldn't do it. It'll happen."

During an all-over-the-place session with reporters that lasted 20-plus minutes, Maddon declined to make any Oscar predictions, saying he's into Netflix and Hulu now and doesn't really go to the movies anymore.

Maddon also hasn't watched much – or any – of the World Series highlights or documentaries. When it came to the handling Aroldis Chapman part, there were some boos inside Chicago's Civic Opera House during the premiere of Major League Baseball's "The 2016 World Series."

But Maddon said he basically skipped that type of content after being Mike Scioscia's bench coach for the 2002 Anaheim Angels and managing the Tampa Bay Rays to the 2008 World Series.

"You get busy and I don't know," Maddon said. "I need to start reading more and watching Netflix less."

Didn't you say that last spring?

"I did," Maddon said.

Maddon had been addicted to cable news during last year's polarizing presidential campaign: "But, damn, it's gotten really annoying, so I stopped watching all that stuff. It's just not good for your brain. It's really not. There's nothing to be gained."

When Maddon starts rolling, it's not hard to picture him in a scene with David and J.B. Smoove. Shaquille O'Neal, John McEnroe and Bill Buckner are among the sports figures with "Curb Your Enthusiasm" credits.

"That was the only day, so I don't know how we're going to figure this out," Maddon said. "First, they had one day set up, and that was going to be good. And then they had to change it to this other day, which was not good. So we'll have to (come up with something else), even if it's maybe a picture on the wall or a phone call."