Saturday Night Live funnyman Seth Meyers was at Wrigley Field to sing "Take Me Out To the Ballgame" on Friday and Doug Davis shut out the New York Yankees for seven-plus innings.
Keep waiting for the punch line -- that last part was no joke.
Soft-tossing southpaw Davis came within five outs from his fourth shutout over a 13-year career, beating the Yankees 3-1 in front of a season-best 42,219.
Cubs manager Mike Quade either was a prophet or channeling his own inner comedian before the game when asked what he expected out of Davis against the American League's highest-scoring team.
"Nine scoreless innings," Quade deadpanned.
All kidding aside, Friday's matchup seemed like a dicey one to start the first Yankees-Cubs series at Wrigley since 2003.
Davis came in 0-5 with a 5.90 ERA, going deeper than 5 innings once in 6 starts and riding a career-worst six-game losing streak. The Yankees were coming off a three-game sweep of Texas in which they scored 27 runs, padding their league-leading home run total to 103.
All Davis did was handcuff the Yankees to the tune of 3 hits and 3 walks with 4 strikeouts over 7⅓ stellar innings, the only run coming on Mark Teixeira's eighth-inning single after Davis had departed for Sean Marshall.
"He just confounded them," Quade said.
Davis, who left to a standing ovation after allowing Nick Swisher's one-out double in the eighth, reached the seventh inning for the first time since Oct. 4, 2009 while a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The opponent that day? You guessed it -- the Cubs.
Davis maintained the monotone of a seasoned veteran afterward, even after his first since May 5, 2010. With good reason. Davis has overcome far more than 6 winless starts. He recovered from thyroid cancer surgery in 2008, and a year later won nine games with Arizona.
"I was able to get ahead a lot, throwing strikes with all of my pitches except for my curveball," Davis said. "For the most part I was able to keep them off-balance and execute pitches when I had to."
In fairness to Davis, his 0-fer won-loss record before Friday didn't quite do him justice. Since signing a minor-league contract April 11 to help patch up an injury-ravaged Cubs rotation, Davis allowed more than 4 runs just once -- May 20 against the Red Sox at Fenway.
His last start was perhaps his best, holding the Phillies to 2 runs on 5 hits over 5 innings and 108 pitches in a no-decision the Cubs eventually lost 4-3.
"But he threw more strikes today and was around the plate more," Quade said. "He got through those 5 innings in Philly, but it was a war that day. Today he had everything that he has to offer. He deserves a lot of credit -- that's a darn good lineup he was getting out."
Davis no-hit the Yankees until Robinson Cano's two-out single in the fourth. The Yankees put two runners on with two outs in the fifth, but Davis came back to strike out Chicago native Curtis Granderson -- he of the MLB-leading 21 homers -- for the second time.
"He pretty much threw any pitch at any time to any hitter," Granderson said. "Nothing was really the same, nothing was consistent."
Closer Carlos Marmol kept Davis' win intact, striking out Alex Rodriguez to end the eighth with Teixeira on first. Defensive replacement Reed Johnson made a diving catch of Cano's sinking liner near the line to start the ninth, and after a Russell Martin walked, Jorge Posada struck out and Brett Gardner singled, Marmol whiffed pinch hitter Chris Dickerson on three pitches to end it.
The Cubs' win was their fourth in five games. If this one carried a little extra cache, it's with good reason.
"The electricity was something special," Quade said. "If you bought a ticket today and you weren't happy with what you saw you should probably do lacrosse or something."