What was that, a spark of life emanating from the Cubs in Washington?
Yes, it's too little, too late, but it had to be fun to watch for those Cubs fans who didn't leave Nationals Park early or turn off their TVs back home.
Contact information ( * required )
The Cubs were well on their way to getting swept as they fell behind the Nats 7-0 in the third inning and 8-0 in the fourth. That happened to arguably the best starting pitcher the Cubs have had this year: Matt Garza.
But a funny thing happened on the Cubs' march toward 100 losses. They put across 6 runs of their own with two outs in the sixth inning and then scored in every inning after that on the way to an improbable 10-9 victory.
The last time the Cubs overcame an 8-run deficit came during happier, headier times, back on May 30, 2008, when they rallied from an 8-0 deficit to beat the Colorado Rockies 10-9 at Wrigley Field.
Before this game, Cubs manager Mike Quade was putting on his bravest face with reporters.
"I believe we can turn this thing around, and I think it can start today and I believe that every day," Quade said. "There's nothing like today. Get Garza a good outing, win a ballgame here, we go into Pittsburgh and start to try and build on turning this thing around right now. … I always feel like that every day. People think it's tough, but why not? Why not today?"
That seemed like so much happy talk a little later. Garza threw 33 pitches in a nightmarish third inning, during which the Nationals sent 11 men to the plate and scored 7 runs on 8 hits and 2 Cubs errors, 1 by Garza and 1 by first baseman Carlos Pena.
Garza, who had just come off a complete-game loss to the White Sox, didn't make it through the third as he was charged with 8 hits and 7 runs (6 earned) in 2-plus innings.
The Cubs batted around in the sixth, with pinch hitter Blake DeWitt capping a 6-run rally with a 3-run homer. Carlos Pena tied it in the seventh with a 2-run homer. The Cubs even survived a blown save by Sean Marshall in the eighth, but Darwin Barney made sure the Cubs had the last -- and no doubt hearty -- laugh with his RBI double in the ninth. Barney had a 2-run double in the sixth to go along with a single in the second.
Better things can be expected from Garza after the all-star break. The Cubs also got some good news about ailing starters Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano.
Dempster threw a bullpen session earlier Thursday and termed it "epic" to reporters. He's likely to start Saturday in Pittsburgh after missing one turn with a stomach disorder and back problems.
And the Cubs' Class A Peoria affiliate should draw a big crowd Friday night as Carlos Zambrano makes a rehab start there as he recovers from a lower-back injury.