It almost didn't happen. Chicago trailed, 3-2, going into the ninth when Ian Stewart, scratched from the starting lineup because of the flu, hit a pinch-hit single with one out off Javy Guerra. That's about all Stewart could do.
"There was no double-switching going on, that's for sure," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who was short-handed because of so many sick players and a pre-game roster move. "I asked 'Stew' if he could go in the game, and he said, 'I'm a little dizzy and can't really see straight.'"
Stewart did stay in to run, and after his hit, DeJesus walked to set up Tony Campana's game-tying RBI double. DeJesus tried to score as well, but he was thrown out at the plate, 9-4-2. Guerra then struck out Starlin Castro.
"I got one out and didn't get the rest," Guerra said. "Physically, yeah, [I'm fine]. Everything's there. Ian Stewart had a good at-bat. I have to be able to execute. He fought off and got a pitch to hit and did what he is supposed to do. He got it."
It was a key nine-pitch at-bat by Stewart in which he fouled off four pitches.
"Stew and DeJesus had really good at-bats," Campana said. "Stew battled him and got a two-strike hit, and 'Zeus' was able to get the walk. [Guerra] was kind of struggling to throw strikes so I figured he was going to try to throw one right down the middle and he did and I was able to hit it hard."
With the game tied at 3 in the 11th, Darwin Barney doubled to lead off, as the ball deflected into left field off the glove of a leaping Adam Kennedy at third. Welington Castillo was intentionally walked by Jamey Wright (1-2), and Sveum called on pitcher Jeff Samardzija to pinch-hit, hoping he could bunt the runners over. Instead, he was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
"I was going to put one down and it ran in and hit me in the arm," Samardzija said. "Not much of a hero thing. I was more lucky than good."
The Dodgers then brought in left fielder Juan Rivera for a five-man infield, and DeJesus worked the count full, then drew a walk to force in the game-winning run. DeJesus nearly missed his chance because he swung at a 3-1 pitch that was out of the strike zone.
"[On 3-1], I was like, [Wright] is going to come with a fastball over the plate and wants to throw it, and I was like, I'm not going to get beat and I'm going to be aggressive here and try to drive it the other way," DeJesus said. "[Did you see] my reaction -- I was like, 'What am I doing?' It was a ball."
Fortunately for the Cubs, and the fans who waited out the 2-hour, 41-minute rain delay prior to the start of the game, he was patient on 3-2 and the game was over. Rafael Dolis (2-2) picked up the win, pitching two innings in relief.
"It took almost all 25 guys to do it, let alone the sick guys coming off the couch and doing the job," Sveum said. "It was a nice little team effort."
Travis Wood, subbing for Matt Garza, who was ill, went 2-for-2, but also served up a two-run home run to Rivera. This was Wood's first Major League game since Sept. 24. Acquired from the Reds last December in the Sean Marshall trade, the left-hander struggled in Spring Training and was assigned to Triple-A Iowa, where he was 1-3 with a 5.08 ERA in five starts before getting called up.
He needed 26 pitches to get through the second when the Dodgers tallied on Aaron Harang's run-scoring fielder's choice. Rivera connected in the third, and Wood then settled down and retired the next 11 batters in a row.
"I felt good and my pitches started working, and I got some quick outs and got some ground balls and kept us close," Wood said. "I didn't feel like I was nervous [at the beginning] but odds are I probably was and didn't know it."
He also was healthy. Infielder Blake DeWitt was designated for assignment before the game, leaving the Cubs minus a position player. Besides Stewart and Garza, Jeff Baker also was available on a limited basis because of the flu.
How has DeJesus avoided catching the bug in the clubhouse?
"I think I'm starting to get it now," he said. "My throat is starting to hurt a little. I'm going to keep eating my veggies and go from there."