DENVER (AP)—The lovable losers’ 10,000th win was a memorable one, filled with blown leads, big hits, great catches and, lastly, high-fives all around.
Chicago hasn’t won a World Series in a century, and truly significant wins in that time have been rare, but the current Cubs had fun being a part of this one.
“It was a tough first 10,000 wins,” Theriot said with a chuckle. “I hope the next 10,000 are easier.”
“Really, I didn’t remember a lot about the first 9,000,” cracked Kerry Wood, who got what Theriot termed “a cool benchmark” win as the Cubs improved to 15-6 for just the fourth time in the last 100 years.
Both teams blew ninth-inning leads with their closers, but it was the Rockies who ended up losing their fourth straight game when leading after seven innings.
Theriot’s single to right field scored pinch-runner Mike Fontenot from second base as the Cubs joined the Giants as the only franchises in major league history to reach 10,000 wins.
Carlos Marmol pitched a perfect the 10th for his second save in as many chances.
Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run homer off struggling Colorado closer Manny Corpas with one out in the ninth to put the Cubs ahead 6-5, but Ryan Spilborghs tripled home the tying run off Wood with two outs in the bottom half.
Wood (2-0) struck out Clint Barmes to strand the winning run at third, then picked up the win when the Cubs rallied off Wells (1-1).
“We’ve been picking each other up all year,” Wood said. “That’s why we are in the position we’re in. It’s somebody different every night. … I don’t think we could predict the way we were going to be swinging the bats right now. I don’t think we have more than one guy in the lineup hitting under .300.”
And that’s Ramirez, who went 2-for-5 to raise his average to .287.
Corpas blew his second straight save and fourth in eight chances just hours after his manager gave him a vote of confidence. Last year, he converted 19-of-20 saves, then signed a big contract over the winter.
Clint Hurdle might be pondering a switch now, but he wasn’t ready to reveal anything just yet.
“I’ll talk to the player first,” he said. “I need to think things through, talk to the people I need to talk to, have a conversation, and when we make a decision we’ll let you guys know right away.”
The Rockies have a proven alternative in $5 million set-up man Brian Fuentes, who lost his closer job to Corpas last summer when he blew four straight saves just after he was voted to his third straight All-Star Game.
Asked about the possibility of losing his job, Corpas said it’s up to the manager, that he’s just in a funk and has no faith in his slider, which is what he left up and over the plate to Ramirez when he was trying to get him to chase a pitch off the plate.
Before the game, Hurdle was adamant he wasn’t going to juggle his bullpen like he did his infield a night earlier, when slumping shortstop Troy Tulowitzki didn’t start.
Tulowitzki returned to the lineup Wednesday night but was moved from second in the batting order to seventh. He broke out of a 1-for-19 slump with a three-run homer that capped a five-run rally and erased Chicago’s 3-0 lead in the sixth.
“I definitely took some better swings tonight. We came out on the losing end, that’s the main thing. It’s still bothersome,” Tulowitzki said.
Barmes homered off starter Rich Hill leading off the sixth, and Michael Wuertz came in after Hill walked the next batter. Matt Holliday and Garrett Atkins hit back-to-back singles off Wuertz, making it 3-2.
One out later, Jon Lieber came in to face Tulowitzki. With the crowd chanting “Tulo!” the slumping shortstop sent a 1-1 slider over the left-field wall for his first homer of the season.
The Cubs pulled to 5-4 in the seventh when Taylor Buchholz surrendered an RBI single to Ramirez.
Hill surrendered two earned runs on three hits in five innings.
“It’s obviously tough any time you lose leads late,” Tulowitzki said. “It makes it extra tough. I remember we went through a stretch last year where we did the same kind of thing and ended up all right. At least we know we can still be OK.”
The Cubs are 10,000-9,465 all-time. The Giants began the night with 10,192 wins. … The Cubs are 4-1 in extra innings, including 4-0 on the road. … Chicago also started 15-6 in 1932, ’69 and ’75.