Greatest Moments: No. 22, Eight-Run Lead Isn't Enough for Rockies

By Chris Rewers on Tuesday, January 4, 2011

(Editor's Note: Ninth in a series recalling the 30 greatest moments in Cubs history.)

The Cubs were riding high when they played host to the Colorado Rockies on May 30, 2008. They had won their previous four games to improve to 33-21 and held a 1.5-game lead over second-place St. Louis in the National League Central.

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Jim Edmonds (left) greets Mark DeRosa at home plate after DeRosa's go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning of the Cubs' 10-9 victory over Colorado at Wrigley Field on May 30, 2008.

The Cubs lost three of their first four home games that season, but followed that up by winning 19 of their next 24 at Wrigley Field. Fans were beginning to sense that after a 100-year world championship drought that the Cubs were putting together a special season and those feelings were confirmed with a 10-9 victory in front of a sun-baked Friday afternoon crowd of 39,686 at the Friendly Confines.

The North Siders didn't give their fans much to cheer about during the game's first five innings. The usual reliable Ted Lilly was rocked for seven runs on eight hits over three innings and Colorado led 8-0 through 3 ½ innings and 9-1 as the Cubs came to bat in the bottom of the sixth.

By that point, manager Lou Piniella had appeared to have thrown in the towel. His starting lineup had omitted regulars Ryan Theriot and Aramis Ramirez, and when the Cubs took the field in the top of the sixth, first baseman Derrek Lee was replaced by Micah Hoffpauir and catcher Geovany Soto was removed in favor of Henry Blanco. Both Hoffpauir and Blanco played key roles in one of the most remarkable comebacks in club history.

The fun started with three runs in the bottom of the sixth off Colorado starter Aaron Cook, thanks to a double by Hoffpauir, a two-run, opposite-field home run by Kosuke Fukudome and a homer by the recently-acquired Jim Edmonds - his first as a Cub.

The Cubs followed that up with six runs in the seventh to claim a 10-9 lead - a rally that shook Wrigley to its foundation and even brought Piniella to his feet.

With one out, Blanco smashed a two-run homer off Cook to make it 9-6 and Edmonds soon followed with a two-run double off reliever Manny Corpas to make it 9-8. With the wind blowing out to left at 15 MPH, Mark DeRosa lifted a 3-and-2 pitch into the breeze and a delirious crowd watched it sail into the left-field bleachers for a go-ahead two-run homer.

"Those are situations you live for," DeRosa said. "You're just trying to tie the game and pass the baton around. That's the way the team's been rolling. It hasn't been one guy. It's been different guys every night."

"I got excited today," Piniella said. "When DeRosa's ball went out, that's the loudest this place has been this year, by far. It was almost deafening."

Carlos Marmol struck out the side in the eighth and Kerry Wood allowed a leadoff walk in the ninth but was able to nail down his 13th save.

Much of the boisterous sellout crowd remained in the stands for several minutes after Todd Helton flied out for the final out, belting out "Go, Cubs, Go" with gusto.

"Those are the moments you never forget," DeRosa said. "It's still May, but to come back from a 9-1 deficit at your own park in front of 40,000? That was special."

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