LOS ANGELES — The demise of the Cubs has been greatly exaggerated. After being held scoreless for the last two games, Chicago busted out with a 10-2 win over the Dodgers in Game 4 on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium, evening the National League Championship Series at two games apiece.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon understandably did not panic after his 103-win team had a pair of bad games.
“I can't get over the top and take a trip to negative town right now just because we've had two tough days,” Maddon said before the game. “I have a lot of faith and trust in our players.”
Two of those players Maddon had faith in were shortstop Addison Russell, 1-for-24 in playoffs entering Wednesday, and first baseman Anthony Rizzo, 2-for-26. Neither drove in a run in any of the Cubs’ first seven postseason games.
Both Russell and Rizzo homered in Game 4, with Rizzo collecting three hits and three RBI, and Russell driving in two in his three hits.
Believe it or not, this was a scoreless game after three innings.
Julio Urias got through three innings without allowing a hit, working around a pair of walks and an error by Chase Utley that put a runner in scoring position in the second inning.
Ben Zobrist laid down a beautiful bunt for Chicago’s first hit, then moved to second when Javier Baez singled off the end of the bat. Then came a single to left field by Willson Contreras, and with Andrew Toles’ strong arm Zobrist looked like a dead duck at home, except his throw was well up the first base line, not only allowing Zobrist to score but putting runners on second and third with nobody out.
A ground ball by Jason Heyward brought home a second run, and then Urias left a fastball over the plate that Russell deposited over the center field wall. All of a sudden, the Cubs led 4-0, and Urias was pulled after 3⅔ innings and two full times through the batting order.
The home run to Russell is the only one allowed at Dodger Stadium by Julio Urias, in 42 innings. Russell was the 184th batter Urias has faced at home in 2016.
John Lackey held the Dodgers scoreless through four, but ran into trouble by walking the first two batters of the fifth inning. That ended Lackey’s night earlier than he expected, evident by his “Are you f**king kidding me?” as the mound visit came.
A single loaded the bases with nobody out, and Justin Turner’s single off the glove of reliever Mike Montgomery scored a pair, but designs on a bigger inning died on ground outs by Adrian Gonzalez and pinch hitter Kiké Hernandez.
The Cubs put the game away with a five-run sixth inning against Ross Stripling in relief, an inning that featured two Dodgers errors. The Dodgers committed four errors on the night, something they hadn’t done in the postseason in more than four decades.
Turner’s single extended his streak of reaching base to 14 straight postseason games, tying Carl Furillo (1953-56) for the Dodgers franchise record.
Cubs pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. left the game in the seventh inning with left hamstring tightness. The 25-year-old right-hander has five scoreless appearances for Chicago this postseason, totaling 3⅔ innings.
“It wasn’t anything awful,” Maddon said of Edwards. “I just talked to our trainer and we’ve got to wait until tomorrow to see how he reacts to it.”
NLCS Game 4 particulars
Home runs: Addison Russell (1), Antony Rizzo (1)
WP - Mike Montgomery (1-1): 2 IP, 2 hits, 2 strikeouts
LP - Julio Urias (1-1): 3⅔ IP, 4 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts