Some year, just for fun, I'm going to follow one of those teams that plays normal games.

In the meantime, my heart, my blood pressure and my borderline ulcerous stomach will all have to make peace with the fact that the Cubs find torturous ways to lose and on nights like tonight, uncommonly exciting ways to win.

Ted Lilly, starting on short rest, was heroic, never more so than in the top of the seventh inning, when he had to pitch around a Derrek Lee error by striking out David Ross and Alex Gonzalez with men at first and third to preserve a 2-2 tie.

Geo Soto's game-tying home run in the fifth; Alfonso Soriano's killer throw to Soto to nail Norris Hopper at home plate in the top of the eighth; Ryan Theriot's hustling into second base while Ken Griffey juggled his drive into rightfield, thus setting up the game-winning run in the home half of the eighth; Bob Howry's two-inning save. Such is the stuff of unforgettable, pennant race victories.

All of which is to say nothing of the macabre turn of events following Derrek Lee's single in the eighth, when Griffey, preparing to rifle the ball back to the infield to hold Theriot at third, collapsed in a spasm of pain so painful to watch that it may define the "groin strain" for generations to come.

It was a high-pressure, high-reward game for the Cubs aptly summarized by WGN's Pat Hughes as he called the top of the ninth inning:

"It's one of those games that feels like it's worth more than one victory."

(The night just got more rewarding. Thanks, Hunter Pence. I thought you only beat up on the Cubs.)


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