You could say it happened in almost a blink Thursday night. Cardinals rookie Paul DeJong, the club’s home run leader with 24 despite his late May call-up, drove one that looked like its final resting place would be the other side of the center field fence in the bottom of the eleventh, with his club down, 2-1. Cubs centerfielder Leonys Martin thought it looked like something else and made it happen, timing a perfect leap and grabbing the ball before it crossed the fence.
Don’t look now, but the Cubs—the Cubs!—have a magic number of three—three!—to clinch the National League Central. Beating the Cardinals 4-1 Monday had a lot to do with that. So did Kyle Hendrick, who’s transformed himself from nothing special to never better this season, leading the majors with his 2.03 earned run average and his 197 ERA+, by taking a no-hitter to the ninth.