National League Championship Series Game 5 – Cubs 8, Dodgers 4
WP – Jon Lester (1-0) LP – Joe Blanton (0-2) Save – None
Jon Lester was outstanding for seven innings in a game that was tied at one after five innings. Addison Russell broke the 1-1 tie with a two-run homer in the sixth. The Cubs scored five runs in the eighth inning on back-to-back infield singles and a bases clearing double by Javier Baez. And the Cubs held off the Dodgers to win Game 5 on Thursday night in LA.
Jon Lester pitched an excellent game and did not allow the Dodgers to rattle him. Lester admitted the Dodgers pissed him off with dancing on the basepaths and countless bunt attempts. The Dodgers strategy actually backfired on them as sluggers Joc Pederson and Adrian Gonzalez tried to bunt their way on instead of swinging away in what was a close game until the eighth inning.
Jon Lester allowed just one run on five hits (four singles) with a walk and six strikeouts. Lester made 108 pitches, 67 for strikes, in seven innings.
Pedro Strop and Aroldis Chapman were shaky, at best, in the eighth and ninth innings and gave up three runs to the Dodgers. Strop and Chapman appeared to be rusty and just getting their work in.
Anthony Rizzo (2-for-5 with a double and a RBI) drove in Dexter Fowler (2-for-5 with two runs scored and a RBI) in the first inning. Joe Maddon called for a hit and run with one out. Rizzo doubled to right and plated Fowler.
The Cubs offense struggled early and wasted opportunities against Kenta Maeda in the first four innings of the game (0-for-5 RISP, five left on base).
Addison Russell (2-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI) stepped up with Javier Baez (3-for-5 with two doubles, a run scored and three RBI) on second and one out in the sixth and went deep for the second day in a row. Russell crushed a hanging slider from Joe Blanton, the ball ended up over the wall in center and the Cubs had a 3-1 lead.
The Cubs tacked on five runs in the eighth with the first two runs scoring on back-to-back infield singles by Dexter Fowler and Kris Bryant (2-for-5 with a double, a run scored and a RBI).
Javier Baez capped the scoring with a two-out, bases clearing double that gave the Cubs an 8-1 lead.
The entire team contributed to the win in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.
Game 5 was tied 1-1 after five innings. Anthony Rizzo doubled in Dexter Fowler in the first inning for the Cubs’ run. And Adrian Gonzalez plated Howie Kendrick from third with a grounder to first base in the fourth.
The Cubs wasted several run scoring opportunities in the first five innings. The Cubs were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base.
Joe Blanton started the sixth for the Dodgers and was greeted by Javier Baez with a single to center. Baez stole second with Heyward at the plate. Heyward struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) for the first out. Russell stepped in with the go ahead run at second base.
Addison Russell launched a 0-1 pitch out to center. Russell crushed Blanton’s hanging slider. The ball sailed over the wall and the Cubs took a 3-1 lead on Russell’s second dinger in as many days. David Ross reached second with a hustle double to left. Lester popped out to left and Fowler popped out to short to end the inning.
Jon Lester pitched around a one-out single by Corey Seager on a ball Rizzo misplayed at first base. Lester hung a zero on the board after Ruiz popped out to Ross and Kendrick struck out swinging.
After six complete, the Cubs led 3-1.
The Cubs put the game out of reach in the eighth. With the Cubs clinging to a 3-1 lead, Russell led off the eighth with a check swing infield single to first base. Russell hustled down the line and reached on what was charged as an error to Pedro Baez. The Dodgers’ reliever dropped the ball on the toss from Gonzalez.
Willson Contreras batted for Ross and singled to right. Russell stopped at second with no outs. Albert Almora Jr. hit for Lester and bunted Russell and Contreras to second and third with one out. Dexter Fowler pulled a 2-2 pitch toward first base. Pedro Baez did not break for the bag. Fowler hustled down the line and dove headfirst into the base. Fowler reached on an infield single as Russell scored … 4-1 Cubs. Contreras advanced to third with one out.
Kris Bryant dribbled a 1-0 pitch toward third and busted it down the line. Turner fielded the ball but took his time. Bryant beat the throw, Contreras scored and the Cubs had a 5-1 lead. Two runs on back-to-back infield singles.
Anthony Rizzo lined out to second. Kike Hernandez threw to second and doubled off Fowler. But replays showed otherwise. The call on the field was overturned. And the Cubs had two on with two down for Ben Zobrist. Pedro Baez walked Zobrist. With the bases loaded, Dave Roberts went to his pen for Ross Stripling.
Javier Baez cleared the bases with a double to right. The ball one-hopped the wall. Fowler, Bryant and Zobrist scored, 8-1 Cubs. Heyward popped out to second to end the inning.
The Dodgers scored a run in the eighth off Pedro Strop. Carlos Ruiz doubled off the left centerfield wall with two outs and plated Andrew Toles … 8-2 Cubs after eight innings.
The Cubs were not able to add on in the ninth. The Dodgers got to Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the ninth and scored two runs. Chapman walked Gonzalez to start the ninth. Puig singled to right. After Pederson grounded out to short and Puig was forced, Josh Reddick hit for Stripling and singled to right center. Gonzalez scored from third, 8-3 Cubs. Andrew Toles hit a sac fly that allowed Pederson to score from third, 8-4 Cubs. Chapman finally ended the game. Justin Turner grounded out to short for the 27th out.
With Thursday’s win, the Cubs have a 3-2 lead in the best-of-season National League Championship Series.
Game 6 is at Wrigley Field on Saturday night (7:08pm CDT). Kyle Hendricks takes on Clayton Kershaw with the Cubs one win away from the Pennant.