LOS ANGELES – Justin Turner followed the baseball until it disappeared over the center-field fence with two out in the ninth inning Sunday night, and he raised his arms, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs, 4-1, to take a two-games-to-none lead in the National League Championship Series.
Turner’s three-run, walk-off homer off Cubs right-hander John Lackey brought a full Dodger Stadium to its feet, and Turner’s teammates to home plate. Yasiel Puig and Chris Taylor scored ahead of Turner.
The Dodgers’ bullpen has not allowed a hit since Game 3 of the division series. Game 3 of the NLCS is Tuesday night in Chicago. Yu Darvish is scheduled to start for the Dodgers,
Through four postseason games, Dodgers’ relievers had a 1.72 ERA. They threw four more scoreless innings in Game 2. Cubs’ relievers, through six games, had a 7.08 ERA, in part because they’d walked 15 batters in 20 1/3 innings and allowed five home runs.
By Sunday afternoon, the Cubs and Dodgers had played seven games over two Octobers. They Cubs had won four, which was plenty. All they’d needed.
The Dodgers had started this NLCS with a message on their clubhouse whiteboard: “You get few opportunities in life to be great. Be … great today!” The final three words read, “End the Cubs!” It would be among their last thoughts as they passed through the door, took a left past the video room, and continued through a hall into the dugout.
Really, it would be about timing. As in, whose time is it?
The Cubs beat the Dodgers in six games last fall, the final two outs coming off Puig’s bat. The MVP of that series, along with
A year later, Lester ranks first in career postseason innings and second in postseason wins among active players, and on Sunday, four days after a
Yet Lester was ever combative on the mound, seemingly holding runners on nerve alone, and in Game 4 against the Nationals he picked off
Lester lacked precision to the plate at times, but shut out the Dodgers for four-plus innings. The Cubs were ineffective offensively against Dodgers lefty
Hill finished the fifth having allowed that one run on three hits. He was removed for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth, when the Dodgers scored their sole run against Lester.
Lester left after 4 2/3 innings have having allowed five walks, both his shortest postseason start and the most walks he’d given up in a postseason appearance.