The Dodgers have waited 29 years to get back to the World Series, and will have to wait at least one more day. The Cubs won the battle of solo home runs to win Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, 3-2 on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
The Dodgers lead the series three games to one, after suffering their first loss of the postseason.
They got into the Cubs bullpen, though not for as long as they might have liked.
Wade Davis, unused in the first three games of this series, was called upon with a two-run lead to start the eighth inning, asked to record a six-out save. It was Davis’ absence in Game 2 that drew several questions for Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who instead watched John Lackey surrender the walk-off home run to Justin Turner on Sunday night.
Naturally, Turner was the first batter Davis faced on Wednesday, and Turner took him out to left field, slicing the deficit in half. Turner also walked twice and singled in Game 4, and owns a `.545 on-base percentage in 33 plate appearances this postseason.
Davis labored through the eighth inning, walking Yasiel Puig and Yasmani Grandal and throwing 34 pitches during the frame. But a pair of strikeouts by struggling veterans got him out of the inning.
Curtis Granderson struck out, but then Dave Roberts convinced home plate umpire to confer with his cohorts, only to determine the third strike was a foul tip that bounced, a call that got Maddon ejected for the second time in four games.
Granderson struck out on the next pitch, giving him four strikeouts on the night. He is 1-for-15 this postseason with eight strikeouts.
Chase Utley ended the inning with a strikeout and was 0-for-3 with a hit by pitch. He last recorded a hit in the postseason in Game 4 of the 2016 NLDS, and is 0 for his last 23 in the playoffs.
Davis issued another walk in the ninth with one out, but Cody Bellinger hit into a double play to end the game, with Turner left in the on-deck circle. Davis needed 48 pitches to complete his outing, his fourth save of this postseason.
Jake Arrieta did something no starting pitcher could this postseason, recording an out in the sixth inning against the Dodgers. In fact, he recorded three outs in the sixth on Wednesday night, and two more in the seventh in a stellar outing.
He was pulled with two outs, two on and a two-run lead in the seventh inning. Bellinger, who homered earlier against Arrieta, faced left-hander Brian Duensing with the tying runs on base, but flew out to left field to end the threat.
Arrieta struck out nine on the night, and though he walked five the Dodgers couldn’t cash any of them in, scoring just the one run against the Cubs right-hander.
The Cubs scored first again, as they did in every game of the series. It was via the home run again, too, though to call what Willson Contreras hit a home run is selling it short. He crushed a ball 491 feet in the second inning, for a 1-0 lead.
For a change, the Cubs also scored second in Game 4, with Javier Baez later in the second inning added another no-doubter, this one down the left field line.
Baez entered the game 0-for-20 with two walks and eight strikeouts in the playoffs this year, but broke out in a big way, hitting another home run in the fifth inning, this one a golf shot to left field.
Those home runs accounted for all three runs allowed by Alex Wood, who struck out seven and walked none, but was pulled after 4⅔ innings with the Dodgers trailing by a pair.
Clayton Kershaw takes the mound on Thursday in Game 5, with an earlier start time of 5:08 p.m. PT. Jose Quintana starts for the Cubs in a rematch of Game 1.
Game 4 particulars
Home runs: Cody Bellinger (2), Justin Turner (3); Willson Contreras (2), Javier Baez 2 (2)
WP - Jake Arrieta (1-1): 6⅔ IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 5 walks, 9 strikeouts
LP - Alex Wood (0-1): 4⅔ IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, 7 strikeouts
Sv - Wade Davis (4): 2 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts