National League Division Series Game 4 – Cubs 6, Giants 5
WP – Hector Rondon (1-0) LP – Will Smith (0-1, BS 1) Save – Aroldis Chapman (3)
Down 5-2 going into the ninth inning, the Cubs did not quit and found a way to win the game. The Cubs will play in the National League Championship Series for the second straight year after scoring four runs in the ninth and eliminating the Giants.
Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a run scored) started the ninth with a single to left off Derek Law. Bruce Bochy made the first of five pitching changes and went to his pen for Javier Lopez. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored) worked a walk and put two on with no outs. Bochy went back to his bullpen and replaced the lefty Lopez with Sergio Romo.
Ben Zobrist (1-for-4 with a double, a run scored and a RBI) worked a 3-1 count before ripping a double into the right field corner. Bryant scored, cut the Giants lead to 5-3 and the Cubs had the tying runs in scoring position with no outs.
Joe Maddon sent up Chris Coghlan to hit for Addison Russell. Bochy countered and went to his bullpen for lefty Will Smith. And Maddon got the matchup he wanted.
Willson Contreras (1-for-1 with two RBI) hit for Chris Coghlan. Contreras ripped a 1-1 pitch back up the middle and into center field. Rizzo and Zobrist scored. And Game 4 was tied at five.
Jason Heyward (0-for-4 with a run scored) bunted back to Smith. Contreras was forced at second but Brandon Crawford’s throw to first was off the mark. Heyward moved up to second on Crawford’s second throwing error of the night that cost the Giants a run. Bochy made the slow walk again and brought in Hunter Strickland to face Baez.
Javier Baez (1-for-4 with a run scored and a RBI) delivered the game winner, a single to center on a 0-2 pitch. Heyward scored and the Cubs took a 6-5 lead.
Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in order in the bottom of the ninth … Cubs Win! And advance to the National League Championship Series.
The Cubs had a rough night, especially with the bats, before the ninth inning. John Lackey lasted only four innings in the ‘Big Boy Game’ he had been waiting for all season. The Giants seemingly had one man on base after another through the first five innings.
Lackey gave up three runs on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts in four innings. Justin Grimm struggled and was charged with two runs on two hits in a third of an inning. Travis Wood allowed both of the runs that were charged to Grimm to score in the fifth before he pitched a scoreless sixth.
What made the ninth inning comeback possible was the excellent work Travis Wood, Carl Edwards Jr. and Hector Rondon did for three innings. The trio of Cubs relievers kept the Giants from tacking on from the sixth inning on.
The Cubs managed only two runs and two hits off Matt Moore in eight innings. David Ross (1-for-3 with a home run, a sac fly and two RBI) drove in the two runs with a solo home run in the third and a sacrifice fly in the fifth that plated Javier Baez. Moore turned in one of the best games of his career. Moore allowed two runs on two hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts in eight innings. Moore made 120 pitches, 76 for strikes, and could not go back out for the ninth.
The Cubs jumped on the Giants pen with four runs on four hits and a walk in the ninth.
With Tuesday’s win, the Cubs eliminated the Giants and advanced to the National League Championship Series.
The Cubs will host either the Nationals or the Dodgers on Saturday in Game 1 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field.