Julio Urias gave up four runs in less than four innings and the Cubs broke out of their scoreless slump in a big way to rout the Dodgers and even the best-of-seven NLCS, 2-2. Game 5 is Thursday at Dodger Stadium at 5 p.m.
One sequence cannot do this game justice, not during a 10-2 defeat to the Cubs when the Dodgers’ lineup hibernated, the pitchers quivered and the defense self-destructed. But one moment will stand out, well after the outcome was decided, well after it became clear that the National League Championship Series will return to Chicago this weekend.
In the sixth inning of Game 4, with the bases loaded with Cubs and the Dodgers already down six runs, Joc Pederson launched himself across the outfield grass to snag a sinking line drive. He rose up and decided not to concede a sacrifice fly. What followed transformed this game from a rout into a farce.
Pederson spiked the throw in the infield. The ball bounced past catcher Yasmani Grandal. Sliding into the backstop, reliever Luis Avilan corralled the baseball – only to uncork a wild throw that skewed past Grandal at the plate. A 10th run scored for Chicago, the fifth in the inning, on the Dodgers’ fourth error of the game.
It was an uncharacteristic evening for these Dodgers, who entered the night capable of pushing their opponents to the brink. Instead, they fumbled the baseball in the field and ran into outs on the bases. A legitimate gripe about a second-inning replay challenge cannot overshadow an evening-long pounding.
BOTTOM OF NINTH: CUBS 10, DODGERS 2
The NLCS is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 to be played at Dodger Stadium on Thursday at 5 p.m. After that, the series returns to Chicago for at least Game 6 on Saturday, and potentially a Sunday night Game 7. The winner will face Cleveland in the World Series beginning Tuesday in Ohio.
TOP OF NINTH: CUBS 10, DODGERS 2
Alex Wood handled another inning for the Dodgers. The left-hander struck out Willson Contreras and induced an infield pop-up from Jason Heyward. Addison Russell then singled to right field before pinch-hitter Albert Almora Jr. flew out to center field to end the inning, and, almost assuredly, the Cubs' batting for the night.
Right-hander Hector Rondon warmed for the Cubs throughout the inning. It looks like Chicago will turn to him for the bottom of the ninth.
BOTTOM OF EIGHTH: CUBS 10, DODGERS 2
Carlos Ruiz struck out, Joc Pederson flew out, and Yasmani Grandal grounded out. The sold-out crowd at Dodger Stadium has thinned dramatically. Half the seats appear empty. This series is soon going to be tied.
TOP OF EIGHTH: CUBS 10, DODGERS 2
With Yasmani Grandal playing first base and Alex Wood on the mound, Dexter Fowler grounded out, Kris Bryant was hit by pitch, and Anthony Rizzo singled. He has more hits tonight than he had in the Cubs’ first seven postseason games.
BOTTOM OF SEVENTH: CUBS 10, DODGERS 2
After a Yasiel Puig groundout, Howie Kendrick strikeout, and Corey Seager walk, left-hander Travis Wood entered and retired Justin Turner to end the Dodgers’ half of the seventh.
Left-hander Alex Wood is going to handle the eighth inning for the Dodgers.
TOP OF SEVENTH: CUBS 10, DODGERS 2
Luis Avilan struck out Jason Heyward, then induced a flyout from Addison Russell and a groundout from Jorge Soler. The Dodgers will be facing right-hander Carl Edwards Jr. in the bottom of this inning, after the seventh-inning stretch. They continue to trail by eight runs.
BOTTOM OF SIXTH: CUBS 10, DODGERS 2
The Dodgers made quick outs against Cubs left-hander Mike Montgomery, speeding this game up for the first time in a long time. Joc Pederson struck out looking, and Yasmani Grandal and Andrew Toles each grounded out. The outcome is a near-certainty, with the Cubs up by eight runs, but three innings of this game remain.
TOP OF SIXTH: CUBS 10, DODGERS 2
With Ross Stripling on the mound, Jason Heyward popped out, Addison Russell tapped an infield single and took second on an Enrique Hernandez error, and pitcher Mike Montgomery singled through to left.
Russell scored when Dexter Fowler ripped a single into right field. The Cubs scored twice more on a Kris Bryant walk and Anthony Rizzo, left-hander Luis Avilan replaced Stripling, and the rout was pretty much on.
After review, Ben Zobrist was awarded a single, and Javier Baez’s subsequent sacrifice fly brought in two more Cubs runs when both center fielder Joc Pederson and Avilan threw errantly on one play. It was an ugly one. Willson Contreras finally grounded out to end the inning, but the Cubs lead, 10-2, and this series is almost certainly going to go back to Chicago.
BOTTOM OF FIFTH: CUBS 5, DODGERS 2
Andrew Toles walked to begin the inning. Pinch-hitting for pitcher Josh Fields, Andre Ethier followed with another walk, which brought Cubs Manager Joe Maddon out to the mound, to pitcher John Lackey’s expressed disbelief.
Against left-hander Mike Montgomery, pinch-hitter Howie Kendrick singled to right. Corey Seager struck out, but the Cubs stuck with Montgomery against Justin Turner.
He knocked a comebacker off Montgomery’s glove and then into the outfield, scoring the Dodgers’ first two runs of this game. If Montgomery had not intervened, it could’ve been a double play. Then, with runners on the corners and one out, Adrian Gonzalez grounded out to first. Enrique Hernandez subsequently pinch-hit for Josh Reddick and grounded out to shortstop.
The Dodgers inched closer, but not close enough yet. They trail, 5-2.