CHICAGO -- A general manager switch, a record crowd, aerial fighter pilots, an extra-innings Cubs win, and an appearance by Larry King. All in all, it was quite a day at Wrigley Field.
"What a day," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "Man, oh man. A great comeback win and contributions all over the place."
The Cubs responded in their first game following the firing of general manager Jim Hendry, who was let go about three hours before the game. He was replaced on an interim basis by assistant general manager Randy Bush.
"It's a weird way to start the day," Cubs starter Randy Wells said. "I really didn't know what to think."
"I was looking for a pitch to hit," Colvin said. "I was a little antsy on the first two (pitches) and was lucky enough to get a better pitch to hit on the last one."
Like most of the Cubs, Colvin spoke fondly of Hendry, who was very popular in the clubhouse.
"A little bit (more emotional)," Colvin said. "I got to meet him in 2006 when he drafted me. He's always been good to me. It's part of the business, I guess. It was great to get the win. We kept battling back and scratching back."
Soto also had a game-tying RBI double in the eighth inning. Darwin Barney homered and tripled, and Starlin Castro added two hits for the Cubs. Sean Marshall (6-5) pitched a perfect 10th to earn the win.
Castro, who leads the NL with 162 hits, has 301 in his career. He is the fifth Cubs player to pass 300 in his first two seasons.
Chicago beat the rival Cardinals for just the third time in 10 games this season, delighting a home crowd of 42,343 -- the largest at Wrigley Field since the home opener in 1978.
"It's fun when they sell this place out," Barney said. "It's electric either way. When you've got that many people behind you -- there's a number of Cardinals fans out there and we hear them -- but it's fun.
"It's fun to see a guy like Colvin come through like that. It just makes coming to the park fun when those kinds of things happen."
King sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch. The fans enjoyed extra entertainment courtesy of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds practicing over Lake Michigan a few blocks east of the ballpark during the middle part of the game.
Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia left with a 4-3 lead after he scattered nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. Garcia, who entered the game hitting .085, added an RBI single.
"He had a little trouble the last inning he pitched," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "He made some mistakes but overall he gave us a legitimate shot to win."
Wells gave up four hits in seven innings and struck out five. He set down the Cardinals in order in four of his seven innings.
The Cubs nearly won the game in the ninth, but ran themselves out of the inning.
Tony Campana reached first leading off the ninth when second baseman Ryan Theriot bobbled a routine grounder for an error. Campana darted for second on a steal attempt as Castro flied to center, lost track of the ball, and was easily doubled off first base.
"I think that's the first mistake I've seen him make up here," Quade said. "I don't think he'll make that again."
After trailing for 7 1/2 innings, the Cubs tied it 4-4 in the eighth. Soto's double into the left-field corner scored Carlos Pena from first base.
Molina's second-inning homer opened the scoring, and Garcia's single up the middle scored Theriot to make it 3-0. Freese hit a solo shot in the fourth to put the Cardinals ahead 4-1. He has an RBI in seven of his past eight games.
Barney brought the Cubs within 4-2 with his second homer of the season, landing a shot barely into the basket in the left-field corner. His previous homer was April 25 against Colorado.
"I'd seen all fastballs and I got to a 1-1 count," Barney said. "I was looking maybe curveball, he was throwing a lot of breaking pitches to righties early in that game. I was kind of looking for something off-speed and he threw a changeup. Fortunately, it was just far enough."
Barney added a triple when Lance Berkman overran a blooper into the right-field corner in the seventh. He scored when pinch hitter Blake DeWitt's fly to center was misplayed by John Jay, and the ball rolled to the wall for another triple.
"When I went to go catch it, my foot slipped," Berkman said. "I kicked a divot.
"This is a terrible place. This is probably one of the top five worst places to play defense. It's a bad surface, you can't see. It's tough. It's unfortunate that happened on back-to-back plays."
With DeWitt on third and one out, representing the tying run, Jason Motte relieved Garcia and worked out of the jam by striking out Castro and getting Johnson on a grounder.
The back-and-forth game came after an uneasy morning for the Cubs. All in all, it was a strange day.
"That would be the understatement of the day," Quade said. "Weird, I guess, I can't come up with another adjective. We dealt with (the Hendry news) before (the game) and I'm thrilled to death by the way the guys played."
St. Louis' Allen Craig made his first career start in center field because La Russa wanted to give the slumping Jay a break. Jay replaced Craig in the fifth inning. Chicago's Andrew Cashner threw 32 pitches during his third live batting practice session on Friday, the latest step in his recovery from a strained right rotator cuff. He has been on the DL since April 6. He's slated to throw again on Tuesday and is hoping to be activated in September. Edwin Jackson will start for the Cardinals on Saturday against the Cubs' Matt Garza. Jackson will be making his first in Chicago since being dealt by the crosstown White Sox on July 27. He's won both of his career starts against the Cubs. Garza is 1-1 with a 7.80 ERA in three career starts against St. Louis.