The Dodgers got that early offense that they needed, when Toles hit the third pitch of the game into the right field bleachers. But despite threatening for more, Lackey was able to keep the Dodgers at bay for the rest of his night.
After loading the bases after the Toles home run but failing to tack on in the first inning, the Dodgers put two more runners on in the second, and Lackey got out of that too. Lackey struck out 10 on the night, nine in the first four innings.
While the strikeout was Lackey’s chief weapon on Wednesday, McCarthy relied heavily on the ground ball to stifle the Cubs.
The Cubs grounded into three double plays in the first four innings, and McCarthy induced six ground ball outs in his six innings, with four strikeouts.
Ross Stripling, climbing his way up the leverage ladder, was entrusted with a one-run lead to start the seventh, and all he did was record five outs. He did enough to get through two scoreless frames, but an error on Adrian Gonzalez receiving a throw from shortstop extended the eighth inning.
The error put Albert Almora Jr. in scoring position with one out, but Stripling struck out Jon Jay looking to end an 11-pitch struggle. Then Luis Avilan came in to strike out Kyle Schwarber swinging, setting the stage for Kenley Jansen in the ninth inning.
Stripling struck out four of his six batters faced on Wednesday, and on the season has a 1.42 ERA in his 6⅓ innings, with 10 strikeouts and no walks among his 23 batters faced.
The Dodgers added an insurance run in the ninth on a Little League play, with Chase Utley on first base. Toles struck out swinging on a full count but the pitch got away. Wilson Contreras threw low to first base, where Anthony Rizzo wasn’t ready and the ball got away, allowing Utley to scamper around for a run. He might have been thrown out at the plate, but pitcher Hector Rondon dropped the ball before tagging Utley.
Whatever it was, the Dodgers gladly accepted the gift, and evened the series.
Theses two teams finish off the three-game series with an 11:20 a.m. PT start on getaway day Thursday, and amazingly the Cubs don’t have some sort of World Series ceremony planned before the series finale. Hyun-jin Ryu starts for the Dodgers against old friend Brett Anderson in a battle of southpaws.
Home run: Andrew Toles (2)
WP - Brandon McCarthy (2-0): 6 IP, 4 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts
LP - John Lackey (1-1): 6 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (2): 1 IP, 1 hit