The baseball gods (finally) smiled down on the Cubs.
And the sky, literally, shook with thunder and flashed with lightning at the magnitude of the event.
Wrigley Field. And 40,072 fans stood in amazement.
Yes, the gods were looking after the Cubs. How else to explain a wind shift just before game time that took the flags from blowing out to blowing in against a Reds team that had doubled the Cubs' home runs?
The final score was Cubs 7, Reds 3. And the home team lost no fly balls in the sun, their third baseman actually caught a high fly ball in his glove, there was no unexplained wildness from their best reliever, and there were no double scores on a sacrifice fly.
Plus, Kerry Wood actually started and won a game for the first time since July 15.
"It was the best I've felt," Wood said of his surgically repaired shoulder. "It's getting better every time."
The cleanup-hitting first baseman also drove in three runs and hit one of twocount 'em, twohome runs by the Cubs. That would be Todd Walker, not Derrek Lee.
"Greg Maddux said to me the other day 'Did you ever think you would be playing first base and hitting cleanup for this team?' " said Walker, who has moved from second base to first because of Lee's broken wrist.
The victory came after a morning team meeting called to emphasize solidarity and put the recent comical circumstances behind them.
"It was kind of a rallying-of-the-troops kind of thing," said Matt Murton, who also hit a homer. "Obviously, we've had our struggles. We've got to put that behind us now and finally win some games. We've been really close in a lot of games and we've found a way to let it slip away."
"We all believe that we can turn this thing around," Walker said. "A victory always helps. We're 1-0 [during] the last day. If we win [Tuesday], we've got 20 wins and then we start heading toward .500. Any positives you can take out of what's going on, that's what we're going do."
The positives, however, clash with reality, because despite Monday's win the Cubs have lost 20 of their last 25 games and are closer to the sixth-place Pirates in the NL Central than the fourth-place Astros.
The Cubs are 6-21 in May. The last time they had fewer than five victories in any month was April 1981, and that team finished 38-65 (.369) in a strike-shortened season.
Manager Dusty Baker tried to inject some humor into his team's predicament before the game.
"When I was in San Francisco, we finally had to get over a June swoon," he said. "What rhymes with May?"
"Gray May," he said. "I don't know, but it's been a bad May."
The Cubs reached double digits in hits Monday for the fifth straight game. That's the first time that's happened since July of last season.
Walker's homer was his third of the season and first in more than a month. He also had a two-out hit in the first inning to drive in the game's first run.
Murton, Ronny Cedeno, Tony Womack and even Wood had two hits each. Wood's RBI in the fourth inning broke a 2-2 tie and put the Cubs ahead for good.
Womack can be forgiven for feeling optimistic over one victory.
"You just can't get caught up in what people say we can't do," he said.
CUBS 7, REDS 3
Cubs snap losing streak
Wood's best outing gives Cubs needed 'W'
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