Zimmer, meanwhile, has made do for the past month with a four-man rotation of Greg Maddux, Mike Bielecki, Rick Sutcliffe and whoever happened to be available. "Everyone talks about the problems we have, but there's still magic here," says Chicago reliever Mitch Williams. Indeed. After losing a game in Philadelphia on Sept. 6, Zimmer benched Walton and rightfielder Andre Dawson and inserted Doug Dascenzo and Marvell Wynne for the next day's game. Each homered—Dascenzo's round-tripper was the first of his career—and the Cubs won 6-2.
This past weekend in Chicago, to all those visitors dressed in red and all those locals in their BOYS OF ZIMMER T-shirts, it mattered not how their Cards and Cubs had reached the top of the division. In their first September showdown in decades, the teams played games their fans will be talking about in the year 2033, when the next Cubs-Cards race is due to occur. "If I were a fan, I'd say, 'This is what baseball is all about,' " said St. Louis third baseman Terry Pendleton after Saturday's game ended well into the dinner hour. "But I'm between the lines, and I'm an exhausted wreck."
Friday afternoon Chicago roared out to a 7-1 lead against 18-game-winner Joe Magrane. Ryne Sandberg, whom Herzog calls Baby Ruth, belted his 28th and 29th homers, knocked in three runs and scored three—all by the fourth inning. "Go, Cubs!" got no red response. But when Pedro Guerrero singled in two runs in a four-run seventh, it was Cubs 7, Cards 6, and "Go, Cubs!" was now answered by "Go, Cards!"
After a 44-minute rain delay St. Louis got a hit and a walk with one out in the eighth, prompting the arrival of Williams from the bullpen to face Guerrero. The Cardinals players believe Guerrero is the league's most valuable player. "There's no one like Pete when it comes to a pennant race and clutch situations," says Pena. "He's put this team on his back and carried it all year." Guerrero admits, "I like the game better when there's something on the line." This season Guerrero has batted .414 with runners in scoring position—as opposed to .279 in all other situations—and, incredibly, he has knocked in more than half the runners who have been on base when he has come to the plate, despite hitting only 14 home runs.
Williams swung into his windup and delivered. The whaaack told him not to bother to look at the flight of the ball. Right centerfield bleachers. Cards 9, Cubs 8. "That was awe-inspiring," said Magrane. After Williams walked Brunansky, Pendleton smoked another shot into the same bleachers.
With the score 11-8 in St. Louis's favor, Herzog again called on Quisenberry, who, under his uniform, was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with I'M NOT OVER THE HILL, I HAVEN'T EVEN FOUND THE HILL YET. The Quiz breezed through the eighth and then gave up a walk and a single in the ninth. Roarke came to the mound and told him, "Stand up straighter."
"You're the only man in the world who'd have said that," replied Quisenberry, who got out of the jam to earn his sixth save. "Cards win! Cards win!" the people in red chanted, at least until Harry Caray, the Chicago announcer who broadcast St. Louis games from 1945 to '69, had left the booth.
"Tomorrow you'll see what we're made of," said Zimmer in the Cubs' clubhouse. "Momentum? Earl Weaver was right: Momentum is tomorrow's starting pitcher. We need Sutcliffe to come up big. Tough loss? Hey, a couple of weeks ago we were down 9-0 and beat Houston, and everyone said we were going to take off. We got beat the next night because Mike Scott was pitching."
The wind that had blown out to the bleacher bums on Friday blew in on Saturday. In the bottom of the first, Walton slapped a leadoff single into left off starter Jose DeLeon and stole second. Sandberg, the human baseball clinic, poked a ground ball to the right side to move Walton to third, and Dwight Smith dragged a safety squeeze bunt toward the second baseman. Cubs 1, Cards 0.
Sutcliffe battled gamely, but in the sixth, Brunansky dumped a single into right to tie the score at 1-1. Then Brunansky stole second and scored when Jose Oquendo pulled a grounder through the right side. It was still 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth with darkness descending and the rain blowing in.