Montero's grand slam propels Cubs over Dodgers
CHICAGO--Miguel Montero clubbed a two-out grand slam home run and Dexter Fowler added a solo shot as the Chicago Cubs exploded for five eighth-inning runs en route to an 8-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Saturday's National League Champ...
CHICAGO-Miguel Montero clubbed a two-out grand slam home run and Dexter Fowler added a solo shot as the Chicago Cubs exploded for five eighth-inning runs en route to an 8-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Saturday's National League Championship Series opener.
Chicago snapped a 3-3 tie after giving up a lead earlier in the inning after closer Aroldis Chapman was hit for two eighth-inning runs when he entered with the bases loaded.
Chapman struck out the first two batters but gave up a two-out single to Adrian Gonzalez that drove in pinch hitters Andrew Toles and Chase Utley to tie the game.
Ben Zobrist opened the Cubs' eighth with a double to deep right and Jason Heyward and pinch hitter Chris Coghlan were intentionally walked by reliever Joe Blanton.
That set the stage for Montero, a pinch hitter who sent an Blanton's 0-2 pitch to right to clear the bases. Fowler followed with a solo homer to right.
Chapman blew a save but still earned the victory despite giving up the lead. Blanton took the loss after working just two-thirds of an inning and allowing five runs on four hits while walking a pair.
Cubs starter Jon Lester allowed just one run in six innings and retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced in the first of the best-of-seven series at Wrigley Field. But he received a no-decision after allowing just four hits, walking one and striking out three.
Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda also had a no-decision after an abbreviated four-inning outing.
The Dodgers loaded the bases with none out in the eighth against Chicago pitchers Mike Montgomery and Pedro Strop, leading to Chapman's fifth playoff appearance.
Fowler was 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored, Javier Baez went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored while Kris Bryant was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Toles doubled home Joc Pederson with one out in the ninth of Hector Rondon to close the margin.
The Cubs quickly hit Maeda for a first-inning run after Fowler's leadoff single to center. Bryant lined a 1-2 pitch off the left-field wall past the outstretched arm of the Dodgers' Howie Kendrick for a double. Fowler sprinted home while the ball returned 30 feet in before Pederson picked it up.
The Dodgers were denied a tie in the second inning. With runners at first and second and two out, Maeda dribbled a single past Addison Russell and Bryant but Zobrist rifled a throw to the plate and catcher David Ross tagged Gonzalez to close the frame.
Chicago made it 2-0 in the second as Heyward tripled into the right-field corner and scored as a short fly by Baez dropped into center for a double.
Baez reached third on a Ross sacrifice and made it 3-0 as Dodgers catcher Carlos Ruiz tried to catch him off base with a snap throw to Justin Turner. Baez bolted home with a steal as Turner's return throw to Ruiz was late.
Fowler made two defensive gems in the early innings, with diving catches that prevented extra-base hits by Dodgers batters.
Maeda was pulled for in the fifth for pinch hitter Andre Ethier, who promptly got one run back for the Dodgers with a two-out solo home run to the left-field basket.
Maeda allowed three runs on four hits, struck out three and walked a pair.
The series continues Sunday night in Chicago and shifts to Los Angeles on Tuesday and Wednesday for Games 3 and 4. All games are set to begin at 8:08 p.m. (ET).
Indians beat Blue Jays again to take 2-0 series lead
Cleveland - Francisco Lindor drove in what became the winning run in the third inning, and reliever Andrew Miller put on an overpowering display of pitching late in the contest as the Cleveland Indians beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 in Game Two of the American League Championship Series in Cleveland on Saturday.
Four pitchers combined on a three-hitter as Cleveland took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. The scene now shifts to Toronto for Game Three on Monday night.
Miller pitched the seventh and eighth innings and struck out five of the six batters he faced. He also pitched in the Indians win in Game One on Friday. In those two appearances Miller pitched 3 2/3 hitless innings, striking out 10 with no walks.
The tall left-hander came in to start the seventh inning and struck out three men in a row. He retired the side in order in the eighth inning, with two more strikeouts.
Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin pitched 5 2/3 innings to get the win. Tomlin allowed one run on three hits, with six strikeouts and two walks. Cody Allen pitched the ninth to pick up the save.
The three Cleveland relievers combined to retire all 10 batters they faced.
Toronto starter J.A. Happ, a 20-game winner during the regular season, pitched five innings and gave up both Cleveland runs.
Tomlin pitched five-plus solid innings in the Indians' AL Division Series-clinching game in Boston on Oct. 10, and he was just as effective in this game.
The Indians gave him an early 1-0 lead when Carlos Santana led off the second inning by hitting a line drive that just made it over the 17-foot left field wall for a home run.
Tomlin retired seven of the first eight batters he faced, but with one out in the third inning Darwin Barney singled. Tomlin retired Ezequiel Carrera on a groundout, but Barney advanced to second. Josh Donaldson then sliced a double into the right-field corner, scoring Barney with the tying run.
The Indians took the lead back in the third inning. Roberto Perez led off with a walk, and he was forced on at second on a grounder hit by Rajai Davis. Davis, who led the American League with 43 stolen bases, stole second base and went to third on a wild pitch.
Happ retired Jason Kipnis on a fly out to shallow left field. But Lindor lined a single through the middle, scoring Davis and giving the Indians a 2-1 lead.