The Cubs defeated the Dodgers 3-2 in the fourth game of the League Championship Series on Wednesday night, preventing Los Angeles from sweeping its way to the club’s first World Series appearance since 1988.
Second baseman Javier Baez provided the big bat for Chicago as he went yard twice—the first being hit in the bottom of the second inning into the left field bleachers, and the second coming in the bottom of the fifth frame. Both were of the solo variety, and both came off Dodgers’ lefty starter Alex Wood. Baez’s shot in the second was preceded by a solo home run off the bat of catcher Willson Contreras.
Despite not having pitched since September 26 in the regular season against the Padres, Wood was relatively sharp, outside of a few mistake pitches left over the center of the dish. He was removed after only 4-2/3 innings, throwing 70 total pitches, 50 of which were strikes. In all, Wood surrendered the three earned runs on just four hits, while walking none and striking out seven batters.
Rookie first baseman Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner were responsible for the Dodgers’ lone runs of the evening. Bellinger’s shot was to the right-center field stands in the top of the third, while Turner’s blast went 400-feet over the wall in left-center in the eighth. Turner went 2-for-2 on the night coupled with a pair of walks. The only other Los Angeles hits was a single from outfielder Yasiel Puig.
The veteran tandem of Andre Ethier and Curtis Granderson, starting in left field and center field respectively, went a combined 0-for-8 at the plate with six strikeouts, as Granderson was punched out four times.
The Dodgers stranded a total of nine baserunners on the evening.
Right-hander Jake Arrieta threw 6-2/3 frames for the Cubs, surrendering one run on three hits and five walks while striking out nine. The Dodgers threatened in the seventh inning when Arrieta walked both catcher Yasmani Grandal and Chris Taylor, however, lefty Brian Duensing relieved Arrieta and induced a Bellinger pop out to end a potential Los Angeles rally.
Versatile righty Kenta Maeda entered the game in relief for the Dodgers in the seventh and retired the Cubs’ side in order.
Cubs’ closer Wade Davis replaced Duensing in the top of the eighth frame, and promptly gave up the home run to Turner to narrow the Chicago lead to one. Subsequently, Davis walked Puig, but escaped the frame after a Ethier pop-out, followed by a controversial Granderson strikeout which saw Chicago manager Joe Maddon ejected, and another strikeout of Chase Utley after a Yasmani Grandal walk. Davis would throw 34 pitches in the top of the eighth alone.
Tony Cingrani entered to pitch the bottom of the eighth for the Dodgers, and got into trouble after he hit Jon Jay with a pitch and surrendered a single to Albert Almora Jr. Josh Fields relieved Cingrani after Jason Heyward grounded out to second, and retired Kris Bryant to end the Chicago threat.
Davis struck out pinch-hitter Austin Barnes to open the ninth, and coaxed Bellinger into a double-play grounder to second to end the contest and register the save. Arrieta was credited with the win.
Staff ace Clayton Kershaw will take the hill for the Dodgers in Game 5 on Thursday night in hopes of punching a ticket to the World Series, while the Cubs will counter with southpaw Jose Quintana, aiming to stay alive in the NLCS.
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