NLCS: Los Angeles Dodgers on brink of World Series after 6-1 win

By Jeff Arnold, The Sports Xchange  |  Oct. 18, 2017 at 2:45 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter
1 of 6
| License Photo

CHICAGO -- Yu Darvish stood center stage Tuesday night and realized he couldn't allow his already hostile surroundings to become any more energized.

Giving up a first-inning home run that forced the Los Angeles Dodgers to play from behind for the third straight game didn't help. However, Darvish quickly was able to silence Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs, putting the Dodgers on the verge of their first World Series appearance since 1998.

Darvish allowed one run over 6 1/3 innings, and Chris Taylor homered and drove in two runs as the Dodgers moved to within a victory of the National League pennant with a 6-1 victory over the defending World Series champion Cubs.

The Dodgers can advance with a win in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series on Wednesday night.

Darvish struck out seven, scattered six hits and walked one as the Dodgers took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. The right-hander also drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk.

"The story of the night, obviously, is Yu Darvish," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "After that first homer that he gave up ... he was dominant. He just had that rhythm, the poise and didn't allow whole lot of hard contact."

And what Darvish started, the Los Angeles bullpen finished.

The Cubs, who hadn't managed a hit off Dodgers relievers in the NLCS, put runners on second and third in the ninth when Alex Avila singled and Albert Almora Jr. followed with a double off right-hander Ross Stripling. However, Los Angeles closer Kenley Jansen got Addison Russell to pop out to first and then struck out Tommy La Stella and Ian Happ to close out the victory.

As good as Dodgers pitchers were on the back end, Darvish -- who yielded a solo home run to Kyle Schwarber in the first inning -- kept Cubs hitters off-balance all night.

"I really didn't change much approach-wise from first inning until the end of the game," Darvish said. "I just kept pitching the same way."

As they have throughout the series, the Dodgers gave their pitchers plenty of offensive support.

The Dodgers led 3-1 entering the sixth. After Yasiel Puig reached on an error by Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, Andre Ethier singled and Austin Barnes walked to load the bases. Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr. got Joc Pederson to fly out for the second out, but then he walked Darvish on four pitches to extend the margin to three.

Los Angeles tacked on a pair of runs in the eighth to break the game open. After a walk to Logan Forsythe and a Barnes single, Forsythe scored when Mike Montgomery's pitch bounded off the arm of catcher Willson Contreras, which allowed Barnes to advance to third base. Kyle Farmer followed with a sacrifice fly that gave the Dodgers their biggest lead.

The Cubs, who have scored four runs in the series, again failed to mount much offense.

"They just seem to be doing everything right right now," said Bryant, who had two hits Tuesday. "Good at-bats, good bullpen, good starting pitching. We just got beat."

With Los Angeles trailing 1-0 after Schwarber's homer, Ethier drew the Dodgers even with a solo home run on the first pitch he saw from Kyle Hendricks in the second inning.

Taylor broke a 1-1 tie in the third inning with a solo home run before he extended the lead to 3-1 lead with a fifth-inning RBI triple that scored Pederson, who doubled.

Hendricks gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits in five-plus innings as the Dodgers remained unbeaten in the postseason.

"Obviously we're excited to be up 3-0, but honestly, we've just been taking it one game at a time and just focusing on getting one win," Taylor said. "So we'll come in with the same mindset tomorrow and focus on getting that one win."

NOTES: Dodgers C Austin Barnes started his fourth straight game. Manager Dave Roberts opted to keep Barnes in the lineup as opposed to Yasmani Grandal, who has struggled against Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks. Roberts said Tuesday he expects Grandal to start in Game 4 on Wednesday against Chicago RHP Jake Arrieta. ... Cubs LF Kyle Schwarber's first-inning home run gave him six postseason homers, which ties him with 1B Anthony Rizzo for the franchise record. ... Chicago 2B Javy Baez did not start for the first time in the NLCS as he was mired in an 0-for-19 postseason slump. Manager Joe Maddon said he prefers to have Baez in the game for defensive purposes, but instead started Ben Zobrist, who hit in the leadoff spot for Chicago. Baez popped out as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning. ... Rizzo snapped an 0-for-16 slump with a sixth-inning single.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories