National League Championship Series Game 4 – Cubs 10, Dodgers 2
WP – Mike Montgomery (1-0) LP – Julio Urias (0-1) Save – None
The Cubs broke out of their collective slump in a big way Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NLCS. And it all started with a bunt from Ben Zobrist. Willson Contreras had an excellent game and singled in the Cubs’ first run in the four-run fourth inning. Jason Heyward plated Javier Baez with a grounder to second. The Cubs scratched out two runs before playing longball.
Addison Russell launched a two-run homer. Anthony Rizzo hit a solo shot in the fifth and the Cubs scored five runs in the sixth to put away Game 4 and tie the NLCS at two games apiece.
The Cubs offense woke up and scored 10 runs on 13 hits in Game 4. Four of the 10 runs came in the fourth inning against rookie left-hander Julio Urias. The Cubs took advantage of the Dodgers mistakes and put the game away in the sixth inning.
Ben Zobrist (2-for-5 with a run scored), Javier Baez (1-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and a sac fly RBI), Willson Contreras (1-for-5 with a run scored and a RBI) and Jason Heyward (0-for-5 with a RBI) combined on the Cubs first two runs. Baez drove in a run in the sixth with a sac fly to center. Kris Bryant (0-for-2 with two walks, a HBP and a run scored) reached base three times and scored a run. And Dexter Fowler (2-for-5 with a double, a run scored and a RBI) singled in the Cubs’ sixth run that took the momentum back from the Dodgers.
Anthony Rizzo (3-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBI) and Addison Russell (3-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBI) killed the narratives that the pressure of the postseason had gotten to them. Rizzo and Russell each had three hits and launched home runs while driving in a combined five runs.
John Lackey put the Cubs in position to win the game with four scoreless innings. Lackey was effective while he was on the hill and received help from his defense. Lackey was lifted from the game in the fifth after issuing back-to-back walks to start the inning. Both of those runners scored.
Lackey was charged with two runs on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Lackey made 72 pitches, 41 for strikes, in four-plus innings.
Mike Montgomery allowed two inherited runners to score in relief of Lackey. Montgomery loaded the bases with no outs but was able to limit the damage in the fifth by allowing two runs. Montgomery pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning.
Carl Edwards Jr. and Travis Wood combined on a scoreless seventh. Edwards Jr. had to leave the game with left hamstring tightness with two outs and one on in the seventh. Travis Wood recorded the third out.
Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon closed out the game with two scoreless innings.
Wednesday’s win was a complete team victory.
The Cubs defense played a big role in the first and second innings that kept the Dodgers from taking an early lead.
Willson Contreras picked off Justin Turner from second base to end the first inning. Turner wandered too far off second with Adrian Gonzalez batting. After a 2-0 offering to Gonzalez missed the zone, Contreras threw down to Russell and nailed Turner to end the inning.
Jason Heyward threw out Adrian Gonzalez at the plate to end the second inning on a controversial play. Andrew Toles singled to right and Heyward made a strong throw, but it was off the mark. Contreras made a diving tag and Gonzalez was called out on a very close play. The Dodgers challenged the call. The umps took a long look and the call on the field was upheld. Replays showed the Cubs may have caught a break.
Ben Zobrist led off the fourth inning of a scoreless game. The Cubs had a walk (Baez) and a runner reached on an error (Contreras) in the second and another walk in the third (Bryant) but no hits through three innings. Zobrist got the first hit, a bunt single to third base.
Javier Baez followed with a bloop single to left on a 0-2 pitch and all of a sudden the Cubs had two on with no outs.
Willson Contreras stepped in and singled to left on a 0-2 pitch. Zobrist scored and the Cubs took a 1-0 lead. Andrew Toles uncorked a wild throw to the plate. Baez and Contreras moved up 90 feet and Jason Heyward stepped in with runners on second and third with one down. Heyward made contact with the infield back. Heyward grounded out to second (2-2 pitch), Baez raced home and scored … 2-0 Cubs. Contreras moved to third on the play.
Addison Russell stepped in with one out just needing to make contact. And he did. Russell launched a 2-0 pitch from Urias over the wall in right center. A rather excited Russell circled the bases and the Cubs took a 4-0 lead.
John Lackey grounded out to second and Dave Roberts went to his pen for Pedro Baez.
Dexter Fowler doubled to left center on a 3-2 pitch. But Bryant went down swinging to end the inning.
John Lackey pitched out of a jam in the fourth after a catcher’s interference call on Contreras allowed Josh Reddick to reach with two outs. Joc Pederson singled to left. With runners on first and second with two down, Lackey struck out Grandal swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs led 4-0 after four innings.
Anthony Rizzo led off the fifth and looked at three straight out of the zone from Baez. Rizzo got all of a 3-2 pitch and deposited the ball over the center field wall … 5-0 Cubs. Zobrist flied out to right. Roberts went back to his pen for Josh Fields. Javier Baez grounded out to short and Contreras struck out swinging to end the inning.
John Lackey started the fifth with a 5-0 lead and issued back-to-back walks to Andrew Toles and pinch-hitter Andre Ethier. Maddon did not waste any time and went to his bullpen for Mike Montgomery.
Dave Roberts countered Maddon’s move and sent up Howie Kendrick to hit for Chase Utley. Kendrick ripped a single to right and loaded the bases with no outs. Montgomery picked up a huge out. Montgomery struck out Corey Seager swinging (2-2 pitch) for the first out.
Justin Turner bounced a 1-0 pitch back up the middle. The ball hit off the end of Montgomery’s glove and trickled into left past a diving Addison Russell. Toles and Ethier scored, 5-2 Cubs. Adrian Gonzalez grounded out to first. Kendrick had to hold at third. And the Dodgers had runners on second and third with two outs.
Kike Hernandez batted for Josh Reddick and grounded out to Russell at short to end the inning.
The Cubs led 5-2 after five complete … and the feeling was the Dodgers had the momentum back in the game.
Ross Stripling started the sixth for the Dodgers and the Cubs went to work.
After Heyward popped out to right for the first out in the sixth, Addison Russell reached on an infield single to second base. Kike Hernandez made a throw to first that was off the mark and hit Russell. The ball rolled away and Russell went to second on the error. Maddon left Montgomery in to hit for himself. And Mike Montgomery ripped a single to left. Russell went to third with one out.
Dexter Fowler singled to right on a 1-0 pitch. Russell scored, 6-2 Cubs. Montgomery stopped at second. Bryant walked and loaded the bases with one out.
Anthony Rizzo smoked a 0-1 pitch to right. Montgomery and Fowler scored and the Cubs took an 8-2 lead. With two on and one out, Roberts went to his pen for lefty Luis Avilan.
Ben Zobrist dribbled a 2-2 pitch out in front of the plate. Zobrist hustled down the line and was called out. Replay showed otherwise and the call on the field was overturned. The Cubs loaded the bases with one out.
Javier Baez lifted a 0-1 pitch to center. Bryant tagged and scored, 9-2 Cubs. Pederson’s throw hit the mound and bounced past Grandal. Rizzo scored, 10-2 Cubs. Contreras grounded out to second to end the inning.
Mike Montgomery set the Dodgers down in order in the sixth. Game 4 went to the seventh with the Cubs leading 10-2.
And that would be the final score.
Carl Edwards Jr. recorded two outs in the seventh before leaving with left hamstring tightness. Travis Wood picked up the final out. Pedro Strop retired all three batters he faced in the eighth. And Hector Rondon gave up a single to Puig before getting Kendrick and Seager to end the game.
With Wednesday’s win, the NLCS is tied at 2-2.
Jon Lester gets the ball for Game 5 on Thursday night (7:08pm CDT) at Dodger Stadium. Kenta Maeda is scheduled to start for the Dodgers.