First the agony
Followed by the ecstasy
This is Cubs baseball
It started out perfectly. A Dexter Fowler single followed by a Kris Bryant double to start the game and the Cubs had a quick 1-0 lead.
They added two more in the second when a strange Javy Baez double scored Jason Heyward, who had led off with a triple. Baez took third on a wild pitch and then stole home (first post-season steal of home since 1907) when the Dodger thought they had caught him off third base.
The game plodded along, with no scoring except for a wind-blown home run by Dodgers pinch-hitter Andre Ethier in the fifth.
Things started going south after Joe Maddon pulled starter Jon Lester for a pinch hitter in the 6th. Three Cubs relievers (Travis Wood, Carl Edwards Jr. , and Mike Montgomery) held the Dodgers scoreless in the 7th. But when Montgomery (single) and Pedro Strop (walk, single) let the Dodgers load the bases, Maddon brought in closer Aroldis Chapman with nobody out in the 8th.
Memories of the 8th inning disaster in NLDS Game 3 faded a bit as Chapman got 2 strike-outs. But agony set in when a single by Adrian Gonzalez tied the game before Yasmani Grandal grounded out to end the Dodgers 8th.
Then came the Cubs 8th.
One out after a lead-off double by Ben Zobrist, the Dodgers intentionally walked Heyward to get to Baez who flew out on the first pitch he saw. Another intentional pass, to pinch-hitter Chris Coghlan, forced the Cubs to pull Chapman for a pinch hitter. This time, it was Miguel Montero, who put the third pitch deep into the right-field bleachers for a grand slam.
It was the first post-season grand slam at Wrigley Field for a member of the Cubs, the fourth one ever, and the first since 2003. Not only did it make Cubs fans ecstatic, but it was followed by a Dexter Fowler solo shot to give the Cubs a 5 run lead.
Hector Rondon returned as the Cubs closer. He allowed one Dodger run, but nobody cared. The Cubs had beaten the Dodgers 8-4 to take game one of the National League Championship Series. The Cubs first NLCS victory since 2003.
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