The Chicago Cubs used great starting pitching and their offense broke out in the later innings to win Game 5, 8-4 and take a 3-2 series lead in the National League Championship Series over the LA Dodgers.
The Cubs have now won back-to-back games with their offense busting out in a big way, after being shut out in back-to-back games. Just three days ago, people were wondering what had happened to the Cubs offense.
For the second time in this series, former KC Royal Joe Blanton took the loss.
This time, the game was tied at 1-1 heading into the sixth. Blanton allowed a leadoff single to Javy Baez on the very first pitch he threw and then Baez stole second base. After a strikeout, Blanton allowed an 0-1 two-run home run to Addison Russell to break the tie.
Back in Game 1, Blanton allowed a pinch-hit grand slam in the 8th inning to break the 3-3 tie. He had been a savior for the Dodgers, but now he cannot keep the ball in the ballpark. I cannot see the Dodgers going to him in big situations the rest of the series.
It got worse for the Dodgers in the 8th inning when the Cubs scored five runs. It didn’t help that reliever Pedro Baez started the inning by dropping a throw at first base. Three hits, a sac bunt, and a walk followed before Baez was replaced by Ross Stripling, who allowed five runs the night before. Stripling allowed a bases clearing double to Javy Baez.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers offense was held in check by Cubs starter Jon Lester. He allowed just one run on five hits and a walk over seven innings. He struck out six. The Cubs bullpen duo of Pedro Strop and Aroldis Chapman allowed the final three Dodger runs.
Former Royal Ben Zobrist went 0-for-2 with three walks and a run scored for the Cubs.
The NLCS now heads back to Chicago with the Cubs throwing Kyle Hendricks in Game 6 on Saturday night. The Dodgers will counter with ace Clayton Kershaw, hoping he can help force a Game 7.
*Unlike most of the games in the ALCS, this series has been LONG. Last night’s game took over four hours to play. Honestly, I think the NLCS has been boring.