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Cubs’ bats come alive late in 5-4 win over Brewers

StarlCastro strokes game-winning single score Tony Campanas Chicago Cubs come from behind defeMilwaukee Brewers 5-4 ten innings an MLB game

Starlin Castro strokes a game-winning single to score Tony Campana as the Chicago Cubs come from behind to defeat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4 in ten innings in an MLB game Tuesday June 14, 2011 at Wrigley Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: September 21, 2011 12:33AM



Uh-oh. Time for Crane Kenney to bring back the Greek priest.

Visions of the goat were all over Wrigley Field before the game Tuesday, and right on cue the Cubs went tumbling back toward the loss column with more errors (three) than hits (two) in the first six innings against Yovani Gallardo and the Milwaukee Brewers.

But hold the phone, Crane.

The shirt-storm brewing before the game apparently built enough strength to finally produce enough late-inning wind and thunder for the Cubs to overcome some of the problems that have plagued them all year — and to come from behind to beat the Brewers 5-4 in 10 innings.

Don’t look now, but the Cubs suddenly have a two-game winning streak with Carlos Zambrano on the mound tonight to try to make it three for the first time this season.

Must be the goat T-shirts.

‘‘Absolutely,’’ said rookie Tony Campana, who legged out a double to lead off the 10th.

‘‘Not everybody who hits that ball gets a double,’’ shortstop Starlin Castro said. ‘‘When I saw that, I say, ‘I win this game.’ ’’

After Kosuke Fukudome’s sacrifice bunt, Castro drove the first pitch from Tim Dillard to right-center for the game-winning hit.

Must be the shirts.

‘‘Yeah,’’ Castro said smiling.

Not that Cubs officials were necessarily smiling when the players broke out the ‘‘F--- the Goat!!!” shirts they displayed for all to see during early pregame work and then wore under their jerseys during the game.

The organization has spent years downplaying, hiding from and spitting on any mention of the infamous Billy Goat Curse. And now they’re wearing it on their sleeves — well, on the players’ chests in the form of a goat image with a red slash through it, and the expletive on the backs.

‘‘It just came from a good speech. Whatever it takes to get guys going,’’ said starting pitcher Randy Wells, who turned in his first quality start in five turns since returning from the disabled list. ‘‘I personally love it.’’

It seemed to work for Ryan Dempster the night before in the Cubs’ 1-0 win Monday. And it worked Tuesday for Wells and Campana and Castro. And Geovany Soto, who homered in the seventh. And Aramis Ramirez, who tied the game with a two-run shot in the eighth.

‘‘I’m pumped up about it. I think they’re funny,’’ first baseman Carlos Pena said. ‘‘And they speak for themselves.’’

‘‘It seems like when you’re going through tough times, these kind of things develop,’’ manager Mike Quade said, ‘‘whether solidarity or whether it’s having some fun — or whether it’s just trying to maintain a semblance of sanity. Anything that draws them together, anything that keeps them together, I’m all for it. Well, not anything, but damn near anything.’’

But what about all the years of organizational angst over the mere suggestion of a goat curse?

‘‘That’s kind of what we’re saying,’’ catcher Koyie Hill said. ‘‘I think it’s just kind of a loose, fun saying that kind of came up and was funny as hell, and now we have T-shirts. It was an awesome joke, everybody laughed, and now I’ve got an extra-large on.’’

Said Pena: ‘‘You can call it embracing. You can call it defusing. Whatever you give power to grows. We’re just jokingly discarding it and at the same time bringing the team together and having a little fun. And that’s what it’s all about.’’

Yeah, it’s all about the shirts.

‘‘I find the whole conversation comical,’’ Quade said. ‘‘I’m not Dr. Phil, but do you want to embrace it, do you want to laugh at it, do you want to hide from it?

‘‘I got news for you: When you take the field, nobody’s thinking about that. That’s the way I look at it. It makes interesting conversation. I just hope the T-shirt’s right.’’



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