About twenty minutes after the final out was recorded, a gaggle of media surrounded him in the clubhouse as he packed his bags. But, unlike the rest of the Cubs, he wasn't off to catch the team flight to Miami.
He was off to join the Pittsburgh Pirates as part of a five-player trade that will being left-handed pitchers John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny to the North Side. Hart, relief pitcher Jose Ascaino and minor-league infielder Josh Harrison are headed to the Pirates organization.
So, there was Hart, explaining he had no idea anything like this was coming. Trying to wrap his mind around it.
"You never want to get traded, especially from a team that's in first place, that's playing so well," Hart said. "A lot of these guys I came up playing with. It's tough, but I've been through it before, so that helps a little bit."
The reason why Hart didn't see it coming? Becuase it wasn't a done deal until after the ninth inning.
"It was obviously not an easy thing to do, knowing that our starting pitcher was probably going in this deal today," Cubs GM Jim Hendry said. According to him, it was tough to turn the organization's back on left-handed pitching, especially in light of the recent injury to Ted Lilly.
In Hart, the Pirates are getting a versatile young arm, one that saw action in the 2007 National League playoffs and has been a positive presence on a pitching staff hampered by injuries. For his part, Thursday's winner seems excited to get an opportunity to win a permanent spot in a very young rotation.
"It's nice to wanted in this game and it's nice to get another opportunity," he said. "I know Teddy's [Lilly] coming back anytime here and my opportunity was limited."
Thursday painted a pretty accurate picture of the four starts Hart made with the Cubs this year. It was by no means a knock-your-socks off type of performance, but it got the job done.
After being handed a six-run lead, Hart squashed the Astros' comeback hopes by putting up goose eggs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
In all, he allowed three earned runs and six hits in his six innings of work, striking out four batters and walking two. The bottom line: he gave his team a chance to win -- something he did every time he toed the rubber as a starter for the Cubs this season.
Reflecting on his time in Chicago, Hart said he was grateful to get the chance to play alongside so many quality teammates.
It's priceless, just saying 'bye' to Teddy and Demp, and everybody. These guys helped me a lot. They were with me in '07 when I had success and last year when I really struggled. They're great teammates and they've been here for me the whole way. It's going to be tough to play against them, but I told Jim and Lou, 'hopefully I'll make it hurt.'"