With lots of sports on the docket this weekend, fans of all Chicago teams had to be feeling good Sunday night.
After getting their brains beat in by the lowly New York Mets, the Cubs limped into Milwaukee and Wrigley North hoping to salvage what was left of their road trip. They came into the series facing a Brewers team that had just lit up the Pirates for 36 runs in 3 games, including a 20-0 beat down on Thursday. With Carlos Zambrano being sent to the bullpen to help bridge the gap to Carlos Marmol and make way for Ted Lily to come off the DL, it seemed to be a recipe for a shootout. Except it was only a one sided affair as the Cubs brought their offense out of winter hibernation to sweep the Brewers in remarkable fashion. 8-1, 5-1 and 12-2 were the final outcomes, with the Cubs starting pitching leading the way. Ryan Dempster, Ted Lily and Randy Wells gave up a total of 3 runs in 20 innings of work, allowing only 20 baserunners. Keeping runners off base will help you win a lot of ballgames, especially against a team that many consider to be the best offensive team in the NL Central. The Washington National come to town next for 3 games and it could help the Cubs get a few games above .500.
Meanwhile, the Madhouse on Madison was rocking on Saturday afternoon as the Blackhawks and Nashville Predators played game 5 of their series. The series was split 2 games a each when the puck dropped and after an early goal by the Predators, the Blackhawks scored 3 straight goals to give for a 3-1 lead. Nashville got one back with about 4:30 left in the second and all the momentum shifted to the Predators as they scored 2 more goals to give themselves a 4-3 lead. With the Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi pulled to get an extra attacker, Marian Hossa hit Dan Hamhuis from the side near the Predators net, shoving him hard into the boards and earning himself 5 minute major. With that penalty, it looked like the game was over, but the Blackhawks pulled their goalie again and Patrick Kane stuffed in a Jonathan Toews rebound to tie it with 13.6 seconds left in the game. And 10 seconds after his penalty expired, Hossa was there to send a Brent Sopel shot into the back of the net for the OT game winner.
Celebration gave way to fear that Hossa would have to miss game 6 in Nashville on Monday because of a potential suspension for his Boarding Major, but NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell ruled that the hit didn't warrant any further action and Hossa will be on the ice when the Blackhawks try to send the Predators to the golf courses.
The southsiders got late game heroics on Friday and Saturday, winning both games with walk-off homers in the bottom half of the 9th. White Sox outfielders Andruw Jones and Alex Rios did the honors on Friday and Saturday, respectively, with Saturday's coming after a fan help gift the Seattle Mariners a run in the top half of the 9th. Casey Kotchman hit a shot down the RF line and a Sox fan who obviously wasn't paying attention to the game, reached down to pick up the ball and after being scolded by the people around him, dropped the ball. It was too late, however as thirdbase umpire Fieldin Culbreth ruled that Jack Wilson would have scored regardless and awarded him home. Ozzie Guillen came out to argue and was rewarded with an early shower for his efforts. Paul Konerko hit a homer in the 9th to bring it to 4-3 and with 2 outs and a runner on, Rios deposited a David Aardsma fastball into LF for the win. Konerko ended up getting the game winning homer on Sunday afternoon, but it was only in the 8th instead of in the 9th to give the Sox a 3-2 win and a sweep of their own over the Mariners. The White Sox are off Monday to help them recover from the last minute victories this weekend.
The Chicago Bulls played this weekend as well and won one of their two games against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but I don't follow basketball anymore and can't offer up anything interesting, nor relevant for what transpired. But, um, congrats on not getting sweeped?