"It was an interesting ballgame," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I didn't know what was going to happen."
Who did? With the game tied at 7 in the Brewers 13th, rookie Lendy Castillo (0-1), a Rule 5 Draft pick who was making his seventh appearance and first since May 5, hit Rickie Weeks with a pitch, then plunked Ryan Braun with a pitch. Aramis Ramirez singled to load the bases, and the Cubs pulled the infield in. Hart's single found a hole up the middle to drive in the game-winner.
"That was a great game. Obviously, we finished on the bad end of it but it was one heck of a game to watch," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "We both emptied the benches, and that was pretty much the way it was going to end."
Would DeJesus have volunteered to pitch?
"No, no. I had Tommy John surgery, so I'm staying away from that," DeJesus said.
Hart had erased the Cubs' 7-5 lead with his two-run homer in the ninth, connecting on a 3-2 pitch from rookie Rafael Dolis.
The wild night started in the Chicago seventh. The Cubs trailed, 1-0, when Darwin Barney tripled with one out, pinch-hitter Ian Stewart was hit by a pitch and Johnson walked to load the bases. Jose Veras was pulled in favor of Kameron Loe, and DeJesus hit the first pitch into the right-field seats to go ahead, 4-1.
It was DeJesus' second career grand slam; he also hit one June 15, 2008. It was the Cubs first pinch-hit grand slam since Mike Fontenot connected May 7, 2010, at Cincinnati.
"I knew he was a sinkerball guy, so I wanted it to be up and it was up," DeJesus said. "I didn't think it was gone -- it was a good feeling."
DeJesus made a nice running catch of Nyjer Morgan's fly ball at the right field fence to open the Brewers' seventh. However, he couldn't get Ramirez's double off Carlos Marmol two batters later, which allowed Braun to score. Marmol was pulled because of a sore hamstring, and the Brewers loaded the bases against Michael Bowden. Pinch-hitter Jonathan Lucroy then countered DeJesus' pinch-hit slam with a three-run double to give Milwaukee a 5-4 lead. Lucroy was thrown out at third trying to stretch his hit.
In the Chicago ninth, Stewart reached on an error by Ramirez. One out later, Stewart advanced on a wild pitch and scored on DeJesus' triple to tie the game at 5. Starlin Castro then swung and missed at strike three, but the ball skipped in the dirt and bounced off Lucroy for a wild pitch. Brewers closer John Axford swiped at it, trying to shovel it to Lucroy but whiffed and DeJesus scored.
For Axford, it was his first blown save after converting 49 in a row. He may have been preoccupied. Axford left immediately after the game because his wife went into labor with their second child.
"He's a tough guy and I was able to get to 3-1 and I wanted to be aggressive on the fastball," DeJesus said of Axford. "On the blocked thing, it was like, 'Let's see if the pitcher is going to make a play and try to barehand it.' ... He's one of the toughest closers in the game. Any time we have a chance to make a play against him and force him to make a play, in my mind, 'Let's see if he can do it.'"
"For not playing, whatever it was, seven innings, it was one heck of a game," Sveum said of DeJesus' performance.
Matt Garza, making his first start since April 29 after missing one turn because of the flu, got off to a rough start as Milwaukee loaded the bases in the first. Ramirez hit into a double play, which allowed a run to score.
"Having my team carry out the last [eight] innings isn't something I'm proud of," said Garza, who lasted five innings.
The right-hander had trouble finding a rhythm and said he was pushing off the rubber too quick.
"Timing and 12 days off isn't really a good combo for me," he said.
This was a homecoming for Sveum, who played for the Brewers from 1986-91 and was part of Milwaukee's coaching staff for the last six seasons. He won't forget it. There were bright spots. Kerry Wood pitched two scoreless innings in relief, a much improved outing than Tuesday when he took the loss. On the downside, the Cubs issued 14 walks, one shy of the club's single-game record of 15 set on May 15, 1962, against the Mets in New York.
What the players were pumped about was the attitude.
"The good thing is we didn't stop fighting," Garza said. "For a young club, that's a huge plus. We got down to the last guy in the bullpen, and he threw the [heck] out of the ball. There are a lot of positive things coming out of today. It's a tough loss, but we'll be better."
"Our team is resilient," DeJesus said. "We feel we're going to win every game and no game is over until it's over. It's great to play with a bunch of guys who feel that way. It makes the game more fun to come to the field every day and know we're going to war with the best guys."