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Dodgers rout Cubs 11-1 to advance to first World Series since 1988

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Enrique Hernandez has three homers and sets an NLCS record for most RBIs in a game with seven as L.A. cruises to victory in Game 5 of NLCS. The World Series starts Tuesday at Dodger Stadium against the Yankees or Astros.

Dodgers crush Cubs in Game 5 to advance to the World Series for first time since 1988

Enrique Hernandez celebrates his grand slam.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

They met on the field as one, the fielders converging on the mound, the others leaping over the railings of the cramped Wrigley Field dugout onto the diamond. Inside the flock of Dodgers, a group headed to the World Series for the first time since 1988, Clayton Kershaw blended into the pack, relishing an 11-1 victory over the Cubs to clinch the National League pennant in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.

On a night when a 28-season drought ended, Kershaw reaped the benefits of an offensive bounty. Enrique Hernandez supplied a trio of home runs, including a grand slam in the third inning that transformed Wrigley Field into a tomb and a two-run blast in the ninth that turned the Dodgers dugout into a mosh pit. The Dodgers led by seven runs after three innings and by nine midway through the fourth. Kershaw responded to the largess with six innings of one-run baseball. He will be ready to start Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.

As October approached, the viability of Kershaw remained uncertain. He missed five weeks during the summer because of a back injury, his second in as many years. He surrendered more homers in 2017 than ever before. He gave up four homers in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, highlighting his vulnerability in this new era of launch angles and exit velocity.

In the past, the Dodgers relied upon Kershaw as their savior. In this postseason, they have lifted him up.

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Dodgers rout Cubs 11-1 to advance to World Series

Bottom of the ninth. Kenley Jansen pitching.

Kris Bryant flied to left.

Anthony Rizzo flied to deep right.

Willson Contreras lined to short.

DODGERS WIN!

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Enrique Hernandez hits his third homer of evening to give Dodgers an 11-1 lead

Top of the ninth.

Cody Bellinger struck out swinging.

Yasiel Puig singled to center.

Logan Forsythe flied to right.

Enrique Hernandez homered to left. His third of the game. Dodgers lead 11-1. Hernandez has seven RBIs.

Austin Barnes singled to left.

Charlie Culberson singled to center.

Joc Pederson, batting for Brandon Morrow, struck out looking.

Dodgers 11, Cubs 1

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Dodgers are three outs away from first World Series since 1988

Bottom of the eighth. Brandon Morrow pitching.

Ben Zobrist struck out looking.

Cubs’ No. 8 hitters have gone 0 for 31 in the postseason.

Ian Happ singled to center.

Albert Almora struck out swinging.

Kyle Schwarber struck out swinging.

Dodgers 9, Cubs 1

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Dodgers lead 9-1 after top of the eighth

Top of the eighth.

Mike Montgomery pitching. Ian Happ in at second base.

Charlie Culberson tripled to center.

Kyle Farmer, batting for Maeda, grounded to third. With the infield in, Culberson stayed at third.

Chris Taylor grounded to third, again Culberson holding.

Justin Turner grounded to short.

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Jerry Post needs to learn an important lesson: Happy wife, happy life

Kami and Jerry Post.
(Hailey Branson-Potts / Los Angeles Times)

Jerry and Kami Post are husband and wife. They’re both Riverside law enforcement officers.

And when it comes to sports, they’re mortal enemies.

Kami, a probation officer, wore her Dodgers jersey to Wrigley Field on Thursday night. Jerry, a police pilot, was decked out in Cubs gear.

“I’m a die-hard Dodgers fan,” she said. “He is a die-hard Cubs fan. We clash.”

The two “met catching bad guys together 20 years ago,” Jerry said.

As they were flying in to Chicago on Wednesday night, Kami was conflicted. They had bought the Thursday night tickets a while back, so she kind of needed the Cubs to win on Wednesday so they could see the game on Thursday, her first at Wrigley Field during her first trip to Chicago.

The pilot kept calling the score over the intercom. He shouted, “Go, Cubbies!”

Kami cheered when either team scored.

But Thursday night, she was all Dodgers.

“I just feel bad he came so far to see the Cubs lose,” she said, needling her husband.

“I truly believe the Dodgers are better and will probably win the series,” he conceded. “But I’m glad to see them play here.”

Kami, who said she has sang the national anthem twice at Dodger Stadium, has been a fan her whole life.

“I literally bleed Dodger blue,” she said. “If they clinch tonight, I’m going to do a little dance, I’ll be screaming, I might even shed a tear.”

She won’t be able to help herself. She’s going to rub it in her husband’s face a little.

“It’s going to be all about the Dodgers,” she said.

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Dodgers are six outs away from first World Series since 1988

Bottom of the seventh. Kenta Maeda pitching.

Willson Contreras struck out swining.

Addison Russell flied to center.

Javier Baez struck out looking.

Dodgers 9, Cubs 1

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Dodgers go down quietly in top of seventh

Top of the seventh. Brian Duensing pitching.

Yasiel Puig grounded to short.

Logan Forsythe grounded to short.

Enrique Hernandez walked.

Austin Barnes struck out looking.

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Dodgers are nine outs away from first World Series since 1988

Bottom of the sixth.

Albert Almora flied to right, Yasiel Puig making a nice sliding catch.

Kyle Schwarber beat the shift with a bunt single to third.

Kris Bryant grounded to third, Justin Turner throwing Schwarber out at second, but Bryant beat the throw to first.

Anthony Rizzo hit a line drive, but Logan Forsythe made an easy catch in shallow right because of the shift.

Dodgers 9, Cubs 1

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Dodgers retired in order in top of sixth

Top of the sixth.

Chris Taylor grounded to third.

Justin Turner flied to left.

Cody Bellinger struck out swinging.

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Dodgers lead 9-1 after five innings

Bottom of the fifth.

Javier Baez struck out looking.

Ben Zobrist flied to right.

Tommy La Stella grounded to second.

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Dodgers don’t score in top of the fifth, still lead 9-1

Top of the fifth.

Austin Barnes grounded to third.

Charlie Culberson struck out swinging.

Clayton Kershaw grounded to the pitcher.

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Watch Magic Johnson react to Enrique Hernandez’s grand slam

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Kris Bryant puts Cubs on board, but Dodgers still lead 9-1

Bottom of the fourth.

Kyle Schwarber struck out.

Kris Bryant homered to left. Clayton Kershaw has given up 8 homers in his last 17 postseason innings.

Anthony Rizzo grounded into the shift, with Logan Forsythe throwing him out from shallow right.

Willson Contreras singled to right.

Addison Russell grounded to second.

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USC, Dodgers — it’s all good for this duo

Efrain Nava and Raquel Casillas
(Hailey Branson-Potts / Los Angeles Times)

Efrain Nava and friend-since-college Raquel Casillas were getting ready to fly into Chicago to catch the USC football game Saturday at Notre Dame when something unexpected happened: The Dodgers lost Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against the Cubs.

They were sad, of course, but there was a silver lining: The series was continuing and they got to come to Game 5 at Wrigley Field on Thursday.

Like many other Southern Californians in Chicago this week, they wore both Trojan and Dodgers clothing. Los Angeles, they said, was taking over the Windy City.

“I grew up a Dodger fan,” said Nava, a 42-year-old band director from San Pedro who played trumpet in the USC band. “Fernando Valenzuela was my dad’s hero, so he became my hero as well.”

“We have to seal the deal this year,” he added. “We have the ammo. We just need to fire the gun.”

Casillas, a 41-year-old social worker from Montebello, also has a lifelong love for the team.

The Dodgers, she said, are a diverse team perfect for a diverse city.

“The city, the fan base, the team,” she said. They inspire her.

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Dodgers take 9-0 lead in top of the fourth

Top of the fourth.

Chris Taylor hit a slow roller up the middle. Javier Baez made the play but had no throw.

Justin Turner struck out swinging.

Cody Bellinger singled to right, Taylor stopping at second.

With Yasiel Puig batting, Bellinger and Taylor took second and third on a wild pitch.

Puig grounded to third, with Kris Bryant throwing Taylor out at the plate.

Logan Forsythe doubled to left, scoring Bellinger and Puig.

Enrique Hernandez popped to shallow left, Addison Russell making the play.

9-0 Dodgers.

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Cubs don’t score in third

Bottom of the third.

Ben Zobrist struck out looking.

Leonys Martin, batting for Hector Rondon, grounded to second.

Albert Almora flied to center, with Chris Taylor making a nice running catch.

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Enrique Hernandez hits a grand slam, Dodgers lead 7-0 in the third

Top of the third.

Chris Taylor hit a ground-rule double to left.

Justin Turner singles to right-center, scoring Taylor. 3-0 Dodgers.

Turner is 7 for 9 with runners in scoring position in the postseason.

Cody Bellinger singled to right, Turner stopping at second.

Yasiel Puig singled to right, loading the bases.

And that’s it for Jose Quintana. Hector Rondon is coming in to pitch.

Logan Forsythe struck out swinging. One out, bases loaded.

Enrique Hernandez hits a GRAND SLAM TO RIGHT!

Dodgers lead, 7-0.

Austin Barnes flied to right.

Charlie Culberson singled to center.

Clayton Kershaw struck out.

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Cubs go down quietly in the second

Bottom of the second.

Willson Contreras grounded to short. Culberson made a sliding stop and threw him out while sitting down.

Addison Russell flied to right.

Javier Baez struck out swinging.

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Dodgers take 2-0 lead on Enrique Hernandez’s home run

Top of the second.

Enrique Hernandez homered to center.

Austin Barnes flied to center.

Charlie Culberson popped to shallow right, second baseman Javier Baez made the catch.

Clayton Kershaw grounded to the pitcher.

2-0 Dodgers.

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Cubs held scoreless in bottom of first

Bottom of first.

Albert Almora struck out swinging.

Kyle Schwarber walked.

Kris Bryant hit a slow roller to short. Culberson’s only play was to first, Schwarber to second.

Anthony Rizzo grounded into the shift, Culberson making the play.

The Cubs are 1 for 31 with a runner in scoring position during this postseason.

Dodgers 1, Cubs 0

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Dodgers fan Micah Agustin wouldn’t know what to say if his team made the World Series

Micah and Melvin Agustin
(Hailey Branson-Potts / Los Angeles Times)

Asked what he’d feel like if the Dodgers got into the World Series, 10-year-old Micah Agustin thought for a second.

“Speechless,” he said.

Micah was attending Game 5 of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field with his dad, Melvin.

Micah plays first base himself and wore a mitt, hoping to catch a foul ball.

“They’re going to blow them out,” he said of the Dodgers’ chances against the Cubs on Thursday.

Father and son flew in from their home in San Diego.

“He’s playing hooky, but dad and mom say it’s OK,” Melvin said.

Melvin, 42, grew up in Glendale and has been a Dodgers fan since he was a boy. This was his first time to see a game at Wrigley Field — something he’d always wanted to do.

“Ever since I had him,” he said, motioning toward Micah, “I told my family and friends, ‘I’m going to bring my son to a World Series game.’ And this is our year.”

He’s got a 3-year-old son at home with mom.

“Hopefully he’ll experience this soon,” he said.

Melvin said he’s thrilled Micah, who wore a backpack with baseballs on the straps, loves the Dodgers.

“I told him, just because Dad’s a Dodgers fan doesn’t mean you have to be. You were born in Sam Diego. You can like the Padres.”

But dad got lucky.

“I’m getting to share my true love with a son who now understands and loves watching and playing baseball.”

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FOR THE RECORD

Oct. 19, 5:44 p.m.: An earlier version of this post misspelled Micah Agustin’s last name as Austin in the headline.

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Dodgers take 1-0 lead on Cody Bellinger’s double

Here we go. Game 5.

Ron Darling said that you have to give “some” of the credit to the Dodgers’ pitchers for the Cubs’ lack of offense.

Chris Taylor walked on a 9-pitch at-bat.

Justin Turner struck out swinging.

Cody Bellinger doubled into the right-field corner, scoring Taylor. Bellinger took third on the throw.

Yasiel Puig popped to first.

Logan Forsythe grounded to the pitcher.

That could be an important run they left at third base.

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Joe Maddon appreciates umpire’s mea culpa

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he appreciated that umpire Jim Wolf had publicly acknowledged his blown call in Game 4. Wolf ruled that the Dodgers’ Curtis Granderson had tipped a foul ball that would have been the third strike. Foul tip calls are not subject to replay review, but Wolf watched a replay after the game and said he had missed the call.

Granderson struck out on the next pitch. Maddon had been particularly steamed because Granderson represented the go-ahead run, and Maddon said he hoped he would have appreciated Wolf’s post-game accountability even had Granderson hit a home run.

“I want to believe I’d be saying the same things today,” Maddon said Thursday. “I want to believe that.”

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Tommy Lasorda is ready

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Dodgers fans Alex Soto and Eduardo Plasencia chalk one up for their team

Alex Soto and Eduardo Plasencia.
(Hailey Branson-Potts / Los Angeles Times)

Alex Soto and Eduardo Plasencia spent much of Thursday morning looking for chalk. Wearing their Dodgers hats, they were turned down at a few stores near Wrigley Field.

They were men on a mission. Cubs fans have resurrected their chalked messages of support on the outfield exterior bricks -- something they began writing during last year’s postseason -- and Soto and Plasencia wanted to leave their mark.

Soto -- who started the Dodgers fan group Pantone 294, named after the official shade of Dodger Blue -- chalked 294 onto the bricks, along with an interlocking L and A.

An older woman in a Cubs jacket started writing a message for her team next to them when she noticed their hats.

“The enemy!” she teased.

She asked them how long it had been since the Dodgers went to a World Series and said 29 years was a long time.

“You hadn’t won in 108 years!” Plasencia said.

“We won last year!” she said.

Another woman in Cubs gear walked by.

“You’re writing on our wall?!” she asked them. “It better be something nice.”

A Cubs fan borrowed their stick of red chalk. She accidentally broke it in half. They joked she did it on purpose and all wished each other good luck.

“It’s a different shade of blue,” Soto said of the Cubs fans. During Wednesday’s game, he and Plasencia sat near a Cubs-loving couple, and they all bought each other beers, having a good time.

With Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers, he was feeling good about NLCS Game 5.

Soto, 30, of Huntington Park had booked a one-way, red-eye flight from Los Angeles just in case the Dodgers lost one and he needed to stay for a Game 5.

He turns 31 next week. His birthday would fall during the World Series.

“This is the closest I’ve been to a World Series,” he said. “I am here. This is my life. I want to be able to experience it, to say, ‘I remember that one year they made it.’”

Plasencia, 33, of Paramount said he too is confident with Kershaw pitching. Kershaw, he said, “needs redemption” in the postseason, and he’s got the right team playing with him this year.

If the Dodgers get in the World Series?

“I’m going to die a happy man,” he said.

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Game 5: Bill Plaschke and David Haugh on whether this is the end of the Cubs

Times columnist Bill Plaschke and Tribune columnist David Haugh discuss Game 5 of the NLCS and if Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw can end the series.

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Watch Justin Turner transform before your very eyes

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Here is the Dodgers’ Game 5 starting lineup

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Here is the Cubs’ Game 5 starting lineup

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The curious case of Curtis Granderson and the phantom foul tip

Curtis Granderson turned and appealed to the plate umpire. Surely, this could not have been another strike.

Granderson’s Game 4 of the National League Championship Series had been full of strikes, nothing but strikes. He had swung at nine pitches without putting a single one in play. He already had batted three times, struck out three times.

And now, the umpire had ruled he had struck out again. Granderson could not believe it. He whirled around and pleaded that he had heard ball hit bat, no matter how glancing the blow.

The umpires huddled and agreed, despite a replay that clearly showed Granderson had swung over the ball, without making contact. The Wrigley Field video board replayed that replay, over and over, agitating the crowd.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon charged onto the field, pointing to the video board, demanding to know why Granderson should get another swing when every idiot in the ballpark could see he already had struck out.

No matter. Granderson got another swing.

And a miss.

In four words, that is Granderson’s October: swing and a miss. He struck out in all four of his at-bats Wednesday. He has struck out eight times in 15 postseason at-bats, with one hit — a single — and no walks.

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Don’t hit the panic button, Dodgers are in a good spot in Game 5

Strangest night of October.

Cody Bellinger took the final big swing, yet somewhere down the right-field line he stopped running, stared at the sky, and rubbed his head as if lost.

Chris Taylor had the final slide, yet when he stood up at second base, he was swarmed by celebrating Chicago Cubs, leaving him dusty and outnumbered.

Weirdest moment of the playoffs. The Dodgers lost. The Chicago Cubs won. Wrigley Field roared. Nobody is perfect.

On an unseasonably warm Wednesday night that played like late August at Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers lost their first postseason game after six consecutive wins 3-2 to the Cubs to end a possible sweep in the National League Championship Series.

After which, another unusual sight, Dodgers shaking their heads and speaking in monotone.

“It sucks we took our first ‘L,’ ” said pitcher Alex Wood, who took that loss. “It was a tough game.”

It was, indeed, but everybody chill. It was strange, but it wasn’t ominous. It was a hiccup, not a heartache.

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Game 5 should be a fitting moment for Clayton Kershaw

If someone has to win the game to deliver the Dodgers to the World Series, it might as well be Clayton Kershaw.

I’m not trying to be Mr. Sunshine here or excuse the Dodgers’ 3-2 defeat to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night, but it’s hard to get worked up over a single defeat, especially when it comes seven games into the postseason. The Dodgers were bound to lose one of these games. No team has won every game in the playoffs under the current three-round format.

They still have a 3-1 lead in the National League Championship Series. They can’t blow this and they won’t.

“I think we’re in a pretty good spot,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We have our No. 1 pitcher going tomorrow.”

And why shouldn’t the chance to win the franchise’s most important game in 29 years go to the player to whom it would mean the most?

Specifically, Kershaw, who will start Game 5 for the Dodgers.

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