The LA Dodgers forced a Game 5 in their National League Division Series, winning tonight by a 6-5 score over Washington. The series now moves to Washington for a win or go home game on Thursday.
The Dodgers started ace Clayton Kershaw and they may have stuck with him an inning or batter too long. Clinging to a 5-2 lead, Kershaw batted in the bottom of the sixth and started the seventh. He allowed two singles around two outs, but walked Bryce Harper to load the bases.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts decided to finally pull Kershaw in favor of Pedro Baez, who hit Jayson Werth on the only pitch he threw to force in a run. Next in to pitch was lefty Luis Avilan to face the left-handed hitting Daniel Murphy, who singled in two runs to tie the game.
Roberts then went to former KC Royal Joe Blanton, who has been GREAT this postseason for the Dodgers. Blanton struck out Anthony Rendon to escape the jam. Blanton went back out for the 8th inning and retired the Nats in order.
The Dodgers put together a two out rally that started with a hit batter in the bottom of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Andre Either followed with a single and Chase Utley (Blanton’s teammate on the 2008 World Series champion Phillies) drove in the go ahead run with a single.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen struck out two of the three batters in the ninth to finish off the Nationals and send the NLDS back to Washington, with Max Scherzer starting for the Nats against most likely Rich Hill for the Dodgers.
The SF Giants blew their second straight game in the 9th inning, but this time lost to Chicago, 6-5. The Cubs are now headed to the NLCS to face either the Dodgers or the Nationals in Chicago on Saturday night.
The Giants jumped out to a 1-0 lead against Cubs starter John Lackey in the bottom of the first on a Buster Posey sac fly. However, the Cubs got the run back on David Ross’ solo home run (he is retiring).
The Giants took the lead for good in the fourth when Giants starter Matt Moore singled in a run with the bases loaded (his first hit of the season). Denard Span followed with an RBI ground out. The Giants added two more runs in the fifth on a Conor Gillaspie single followed by a Joe Panik sac fly.
Moore allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits and two walks over eight innings. He struck out ten. After Moore pitched well over eight innings, the Giants bullpen could not record three outs with the lead.
In the ninth, Derek Law allowed a leadoff single and was pulled in favor of veteran lefty Javier Lopez, who walked Anthony Rizzo. Next up was closer Sergio Romo, who blew last night’s game. Romo allowed a 3-1 RBI double to former Royal Ben Zobrist.
That was all for Romo, as the Cubs were set to pinch-hit for Addison Russell with Chris Coghlan. Being a left-handed hitter, Giants manager Bruce Bochy countered with lefty (and former Royal) Will Smith, causing Cubs manager Joe Maddon to then pinch-hit Willson Contreras. Smith allowed a two-run single back up the middle to tie the game (Smith almost barehanded it). Smith then got Jason Heyward to bunt right back to him and Smith started to turn a double play, but the throw from second base was wide for an error (Brandon Crawford’s second error of the game) to put Heyward into scoring position.
Bochy made another pitching change, going to right-hander Hunter Strickland, who allowed an RBI single to Javier Baez to give the Cubs their first lead of the game. Strickland then got Ross to hit into an inning ending double play.
Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman did not throw a pitch under 100mph tonight, and struck out the side to end the game (and the Giants season).
Former Royal Gregor Blanco once again started in left field for the Giants. He went 0-for-3 with a walk, a strikeout, and GIDP. Gorkys Hernandez entered on defense in the ninth as part of a double switch. He led off the bottom of the ninth and struck out.
Zobrist started for the Cubs and went 1-for-4 with a strikeout.