Yasmani Grandal drives in three runs, Justin Turner homers and Rich Hill, Joe Blanton, Grant Dayton and Kenley Jansen shut down the Cubs at Dodger Stadium
Yasmani Grandal dropped his bat in the dirt and admired his own strength. He watched as his two-run homer disappeared from sight in the fourth inning of this 6-0 Dodgers victory over Chicago in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. Grandal did not sprint out of the box. He knew there was no need.
Such of the confidence of these Dodgers, who now lead this series, 2-1, and reside two victories away from their first World Series berth since 1988. The group weathered some Game 1 thunder and rallied with back-to-back shutouts of this 103-win Chicago club.
The Dodgers bullied Cubs starter Jake Arrieta, charging him with four runs in five innings of work. Corey Seager raked an RBI single in the third inning. After Grandal went deep,Justin Turner followed up with a solo home run in the sixth.
After a pair of abbreviated starts against Washington, Hill rebounded with six scoreless innings. He confined the Cubs to two hits, a pair of singles by All-Star third baseman Kris Bryant. Manager Dave Roberts asked Kenley Jansen to pick up the last four outs. Jansen obliged.
TOP OF NINTH: DODGERS 6, CUBS 0
Kenley Jansen began by inducing a weak groundout from Ben Zobrist. Next, Anthony Rizzo tapped a broken-bat infield single, Javier Baez struck out, and Chris Coghlan lined out to third baseman Justin Turner.
That was it.
The Dodgers won, 6-0. They dominated this game, and they lead the Cubs, 2-1, in this series. They can clinch a World Series visit without returning to Chicago if they win the next two nights at Dodger Stadium. The World Series begins Oct. 25 in Cleveland or Toronto.
BOTTOM OF EIGHTH: DODGERS 6, CUBS 0
Facing another Cubs left-hander, Mike Montgomery, Adrian Gonzalez flew out to deep center field to begin the eighth. Yasiel Puig followed by swinging at the first pitching and fouling down the third-base side, then singled through the shortstop hole. Joc Pederson, up next, whacked a double down the left-field line to score a sprinting Puig easily.
Pederson next stole third base on Montgomery's first pitch to Yasmani Grandal. After three more, Grandal grounded a ball to shortstop. If Javier Baez fielded it perfectly, Pederson might have been out at home. But Baez bobbled it and took the out at first base as the Dodgers stretched their lead to six runs.
Howie Kendrick struck out to end the inning. Kenley Jansen will handle the top of the ninth despite his team's 6-0 lead. The Dodgers don't have anyone warming in their bullpen.
TOP OF EIGHTH: DODGERS 4, CUBS 0
The right-handed hitting Willson Conteras pinch-hit for Miguel Montero, and Grant Dayton, a left-hander, retired him with a fastball offered at and missed. Right-handed pinch-hitter Albert Almora followed and grounded out to second base.
Next came Cubs leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler, another right-handed hitter. Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts left Dayton in the game. Fowler doubled down the left-field line.
In came Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers’ closer, via a double switch with new left fielder Kiké Hernandez. Jansen quickly struck out Kris Bryant to end the inning and will need to record just three more outs, with three runs to spare, to give the Dodgers a lead in this series.
BOTTOM OF SEVENTH: DODGERS 4, CUBS 0
Andre Ethier, pinch-hitting, flew out to left field. Chase Utley next struck out swinging. Corey Seager slapped a single to center field, but Justin Turner grounded out to end the inning.
Left-handed Grant Dayton will begin the eighth inning for the Dodgers. Closer Kenley Jansen is warming behind him in the bullpen.
TOP OF SEVENTH: DODGERS 4, CUBS 0
Miguel Montero hit a grand slam off Joe Blanton in Game 1. He loomed fourth as Blanton began the inning, but Blanton retired Javier Baez, Chris Coghlan and Jason Heyward in order, so Montero did not bat.
On a tapper to first base, Coghlan slid head-first into first base and was initially ruled safe. After replay review, the call was reversed.
Blanton's spot is due up first in the bottom of the inning, so the Dodgers will debut a new reliever shortly.
BOTTOM OF SIXTH: DODGERS 4, CUBS 0
Justin Turner began the half-inning by smashing a home run to left-center, stretching the Dodgers lead to four runs and ending starter Jake Arrieta’s night.
Cubs Manager Joe Maddon brought in left-hander Travis Wood, and Adrian Gonzalez struck out. Yasiel Puig pinch-hit for Josh Reddick and singled in the infield. Next up, Joc Pederson popped out to third. Yasmani Grandal worked a walk.
When Howie Kendrick pinch-hit for Andrew Toles, Maddon removed Wood for right-hander Justin Grimm. He got Kendrick to ground out sharply to end the inning.
Right-hander Joe Blanton is going to relieve Hill for the top of the seventh.