Bryce Harper

Cubs beat the Nationals 9-8 to set up an NLCS rematch with the Dodgers

Cubs beat the Nationals 9-8 to set up an NLCS rematch with the Dodgers

The cigars were ablaze in the clubhouse of the victors. The champagne was flowing. The blurred selfies were in progress.

The laughter was crackling too. The 277 minutes of the game that determined the Dodgers’ next opponent had less of a classic feel and more of a surreal feel, a festival of wackiness in prime time and beyond. This was sold as baseball at its highest level, and yet the evening had such a comic feel that the winning manager could only describe it by borrowing the name of a comic strip.

“Bizarro world,” said Joe Maddon of the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs got seven outs from their best reliever. The Washington Nationals got three from their best starter, and...

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