It felt like October in August at Wrigley Field on Friday as the 1st-place Mets came to Chicago to take on the 1st-place Cubs.
After Jason Kendall tied the game at 2 with an RBI double in the 7th, the Mets scored 4 runs in the 9th to win game one of the series 6-2.
Despite the loss, the hysteria at Wrigley remains high.
"No matter how much you say it's only a game---it means so much," explains long-time Cubs fan Ray Reddick.
Reddick first attended a Cubs game in 1942. He says now that the North Siders are back in the hunt for the playoffs, every game means that much more to diehards like him.
"Now you have to watch every game on TV," he explains. "You have to bleed. Before you could just say ' to hek with it.' But now everything means something. Every out matters. Its tough."
Other diehard fans agree. Maria Gaigan was born in Nicaragua. Since she came to the U.S., she's been cheering for the Cubs.
"They are America's team," Gaigan says. "They've been America's team ever since I came to this country. I can't stop cheering for them, hoping maybe this is the year."
Gaigan believes one of the main reasons for the turnaround is the play of the younger players. And those young guns, like staring pitcher Rich Hill and shortstop Ryan Theriot, are certainly appreciative of the fans support.
"It's very exciting and the fans are into it," Hill explains. "There is a great buzz around the stadium and we are excited to be a part of this team. The things that have transpired throughout the year have been a lot of fun."
"This is a wonderful place to play," Theriot says. "We couldn't be more lucky to be in a place like Chicago, to come to Wrigley Field every day to work. It's such a pleasant thing and so rewarding."
Friday's game was a great pitcher's duel between Carlos Zambrano and El Duque until the Cubs starter left with cramps in the 6th inning and the Mets pounced on the Cubs bullpen in the 9th.
Jason Kendall nearly had his first Cubs home run in the 7th but it fell just short. It was still good enough for a game-tying double.
In the 9th, Carlos Delgado, who had walked in his first four at-bats, lined a shot into the rightfield corner to give New York the lead. The Mets then added three more to make it, 6-2.
With the loss, the Cubs fall a game back of the Brewers for first in the NL Central. The Brewers beat the Phillies 2-1 on Friday.
Coming up on Newscenter 16 at 6 on Saturday, we'll profile former Irish standout Aaron Heilman, who is currently a relief pitcher for the New York Mets.