This looked like something concocted by a Cubs fan in a dream scenario: The Cardinals melting down while the Cubs catch break after break.
The Cubs (46-37) flipped the script on the team with the best record in Major League Baseball, sweeping a doubleheader from the Cardinals (54-30) with a 5-3 win in front of 35,703 fans at Wrigley Field in the nightcap.
"Our guys were great," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "It's not easy to play those split doubleheaders. It really isn't for anybody, especially after a tough loss like that the night before.
"To bounce back like that was tremendous. It's how high you bounce after the fall that really matters. I was really proud of our guys."
Historically, it's been the Cardinals taking advantage of the Cubs' mistakes (which they did Monday night vs. Jon Lester), not the other way around.
But with the Cardinals up 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Cubs finally caught a break (or two) against their division rivals. With runners on first and second, Addison Russell just stuck his bat out and bounced a ball that was just fair down the first-base line, scoring Miguel Montero and sending Jonathan Herrera to third.
Was it magic?
"I think so," Russell told CSN's Kelly Crull on the field after the game.
Cardinals pitcher Seth Maness lost it on first-base umpire Pat Hoberg and was promptly tossed from the game. The next batter, Dexter Fowler, tapped what should have been an inning-ending double-play ball to Maness' replacement, Kevin Siegrist, but Siegrist threw ball into center field, giving the Cubs the lead.
Anthony Rizzo drove in another run later in the inning with a sacrifice fly and Starlin Castro added an insurance run of his own on an eighth-inning sacrifice fly.
The Cubs needed all of those insurance runs as the Cardinals began the ninth against their former closer Jason Motte with three singles in the first four batters, but Motte shrugged off the "here-we-go-again" feeling and settled down to retire the next two batters.
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"When you're able to take two games from a team like that," Motte said, "Especially the way we hung in there the first game and came back in the second game, it's definitely a confidence-booster."
These are the kinds of breaks the Cardinals usually get against the Cubs. Are the Cubs finally over that "mental hump"?
"We're gonna find out," Maddon said. "The thing is, if you stop trying, you'll never know how close you were to accomplishing something. That happens in a lot of situations. You try, you try, you try to move forward and it doesn't happen.
"And then you get to the precipice and do you continue on or do you fall back and say 'I give up'? You never give up.
"With us, it's really rewarding to watch our guys battle through the whole thing. Entirely a team effort."
Maybe Simon the Magician was in the stands somewhere waving his hands and keeping Russell's ball fair? Or maybe it was the duck on the field in front of the Cardinals dugout?
Whatever way you look at it, the Cubs walked away winners from a long day at the ballpark Tuesday, doubling their season win total against the Cardinals.
The Cubs are now 7.5 games behind the Cardinals in the NL Central and they extended their wild card lead to 3.5 games over the New York Mets.
Maddon's bunch is also nine games over .500 - tying their season high mark - and they're having a ton of fun with it, between the postgame dance parties in the clubhouse (complete with a smoke machine - "I feel like I'm at a Grateful Dead concert," Maddon said) and the odd occurrences in-game, like when Herrera couldn't find his helmet during the tide-turning seventh inning.
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Herrera was set to pinch-hit for the pitcher's spot, but was late getting into the batter's box and then went back to the dugout during the at-bat to switch helmets (from Mike Baxter's helmet, which he said was too small, to Chris Coghlan's helmet). It all worked out, as Herrera singled and came around to score the go-ahead run.
"That was what took so long - he couldn't find his helmet," Maddon said. "He hit with Coghlan's helmet. He couldn't find his helmet. I mean, how does that happen?
"I mean, the magician was in New York; he was not in our clubhouse. I have no idea how that happened. We might have to consult with Simon. Simon's got the helmet. Simon: Please return Jonny's helmet."
Just another day in the life of Joe Maddon's Cubs.