FINAL: Cubs blank Dodgers 5-0, head to World Series

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Chicago Cubs players celebrate after Game 6 of the National League baseball championship series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Chicago. The Cubs won 5-0 to win the series and advance to the World Series against the Cleveland Indians. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

If you are a Cubs fan and your head is exploding right now, you are not alone.

The Cubs are going to the World Series.

After going 71 years without, the Cubs punched their ticket to the Fall Classic on a brisk October Saturday night by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series before 42,386 beside-themselves fans.

The Cubs led from start to finish, jumping on Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw for two runs in the first inning and adding single runs in the second, fourth and fifth. Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks was dominant with 7 1/3 innings of two-hit ball.

Aroldis Chapman recorded the last five outs to cap a 4-2 NLCS victory.

Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered for the Cubs.

Game 1 of the World Series is Tuesday in Cleveland against the American League champion Indians. The Indians host the first two games, and the series returns to Wrigley Field for Games 3, 4 and 5 (if necessary) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

<em>Cubs players celebrate. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)</em>

Cubs players celebrate. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Dodgers ninth: Jason Heyward enters as a defensive replacement, taking over in right field. Albert Almora moves over to left. Chapman strikes out Kike Hernandez and walks Carlos Ruiz before getting Yasiel Puig to hit into a 6-4-3 double play.

Cubs eighth: Kris Bryant steps up to chants of “MVP” leading off the inning. The Cubs do not score, and Aroldis Chapman heads out to the mound to protect a 5-0 lead and seal a victory that will send the Cubs to Cleveland for the World Series.

Dodgers eighth: Adrian Gonzalez flies out and Josh Reddick then singles for the Dodgers second hit of the game, and with that, manager Joe Maddon pulls Hendricks in favor of closer Aroldis Chapman.

Maddon is booed as he walks out to the mound. The crowd wants Hendricks, who has been brilliant, to stay in the game. The move works as second baseman Javy Baez starts a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. Baez alertly let pinch-hitter Howie Kendrick’s liner to touch the ground, and the inning is over.

The Cubs are three outs away from the World Series.

Cubs seventh: A standing ovation for Kyle Hendricks when he comes to bat with one out. It’s more than well deserved with a pitching line of 7 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts.

Dodgers seventh: The Kyle Hendricks train keeps on rolling. Another perfect inning. He has a one-hitter going. The inning ends with Anthony Rizzo catching Justin Turner pop on the foul line, and he playfully waves off second baseman Javy Baez, who is 80 feet away. Baez had stepped in front of Rizzo to catch one earlier.

The Cubs and all of Wrigley Field is giddy with anticipation of a series clinching victory that will send them to their first World Series in 71 years.

Cubs sixth: Kenley Jansen replaces Kershaw and retires the side in order.

Dodgers sixth: Kyle Hendricks is making pitching look easy. He hasn’t allowed a hit since Andrew Toles led off the game with a single and has faced the minimum through six, capping the sixth inning with a strikeout of Andre Ethier. Ethier pinch hit for Clayton Kershaw, who finishes with this line: 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. He threw 93 pitches.

Cubs fifth: Rizzo homers to right with two outs to make it 5-0. Almost time to call it a rout for the Cubs, who have not blown a five-run lead all season.

Anthony Rizzo watches his homer during the fifth inning. (AP)

Anthony Rizzo watches his homer during the fifth inning. (AP)

Dodgers fifth: Three up, three down for Kyle Hendricks, who is rolling with 10 straight batters retired. Javier Baez steps in front of Anthony Rizzo to steal a putout on an easy pop-up by Josh Reddick. All Rizzo can do is smile. Joc Pederson then strikes out, and the crowd stays on its feet between innings. There’s a party goin’ on right here. …

<em>Kyle Hendricks deals. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)</em>

Kyle Hendricks deals. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Cubs fourth: Willson Contreras homers to left leading off the inning, and it’s 4-0 Cubs against Clayton Kershaw. It’s a line shot under the NUVEEN sign near the foul pole. Wrigley Field erupts for the umpteenth time tonight.

Willson Contreras goes deep. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Willson Contreras goes deep. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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Dodgers fourth: A perfect inning for Kyle Hendricks, who has faced the minimum through four. He has retired seven straight Dodgers batters.

Meanwhile, the city police department, perhaps sensing a Cubs victory and pennant clincher, has closed the pedestrian entries to Clark Street at Newport and Sheffield.

Cubs third: Anthony Rizzo doubles off the center field wall with one out, goes to third on Ben Zobrist’s fly to center but is left at third as Javy Baez strikes out. Baez has left two runners at third tonight.

Kershaw doesn’t seem to have much of a curveball tonight, and the Cubs are making much harder contact against him than in Game 2, when he shut them out through seven innings. This is his first scoreless inning, and he has thrown 62 pitches.

Dodgers third: A perfect inning with two strikeouts for Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks, who has faced the minimum through three.

The Cubs faithful has been into it full throttle since the first pitch, and the steady action has kept them on their feet.

<em>Getty Images</em>

Getty Images

Cubs second: Addison Russell lines a double into the ivy near the left field corner to lead off, and with two outs, Dexter Fowler singles sharply to left to score Russell and make it 3-0. Fowler is hung between first and second to end the inning.

Dodgers second: Kyle Hendricks shakes off second baseman Javy Baez’ error on a routine Josh Reddick ground ball by striking out Joc Pederson, then picking off Reddick to end the inning. It’s six up, six down for Hendricks, thanks to a double play and the pickoff.

Cubs first: What a start for the Cubs — a 30-pitch inning for Clayton Kershaw, and two runs.

Here’s how: Dexter Fowler doubles to right leading off against Clayton Kershaw, and Kris Bryant follows with a single to right to score Fowler. Anthony Rizzo then drives one to fairly deep left center which left fielder Andrew Toles runs down, but the ball bounces off his glove and Rizzo is safe at second, Bryant advancing to third.

Toles saw Bryant nearing second and took his eye off the ball for a split second, which likely caused the error.

Ben Zobrist scored Bryant from third with a sacrifice fly to center field, and Rizzo advances to third with one out. The Wrigley Field crowd is rocking.

Kershaw gets a moral victory for leaving Rizzo stranded at third by getting Javy Baez on an infield pop-up and Willson Contreras on an inning-ending grounder to short.

How rare for Kershaw to give up multiple runs in the first? The last time was June 27, 2015.

<em>Dexter Fowler doubles in the first. AP</em>

Dexter Fowler doubles in the first. AP

Dodgers first: Andrew Toles, leading off for the first time in the series, singled to right on Kyle Hendricks’ first pitch. Corey Seager hit into a double play on Hendricks’ second.

Second baseman Javy Baez, to this point a contender for series MVP honors, fielded Seager’s ground about 20 feet from second base and went to tag Toles, who ran out of the baseline on the infield grass and was called out. Baez appeared to graze him with the tag, then flipped to first to complete the double play.

<em>Javier Baez tags Andrew Toles to start a double play. (AP)</em>

Javier Baez tags Andrew Toles to start a double play. (AP)

Justin Turner flied out to fairly deep right for the third out.

Much of the crowd watches the first inning standing.

Gametime temperature, by the way, is 61 degrees.

Preview: The Cubs are one victory away from going to the World Series.

One big obstacle stands in their way: Clayton Kershaw.

The Dodgers ace left-hander and three-time Cy Young winner, who held the Cubs to two hits over seven innings in a 1-0 Dodgers victory in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series, starts Game 6 at Wrigley Field as the Cubs go for a 4-2 series victory. A Dodgers win will force a seventh and deciding game Sunday night.

The Cubs made one significant change in their lineup, putting struggling right fielder Jason Heyward on the bench in favor of Albert Almora Jr.

Heyward’s season-long hitting woes have carried into the postseason. Almora, like Heyward, is a good defensive player, but he bats right. Heyward bats left.

The Cubs haven’t won the National League pennant since 1945.

Gametime is 7:08 p.m. at Wrigley Field. (FoxSports1, 670-AM).

Game on!

Here is manager Joe Maddon’s lineup:

Dexter Fowler CF

Kris Bryant 3B

Anthony Rizzo 1B

Ben Zobrist LF

Javy Baez 2B

Willson Contreras C

Addison Russell SS

Albert Almora RF

Kyle Hendricks P

Dodgers:

Andrew Toles LF

Corey Seager SS

Justin Turner 3B

Adrian Gonzalez 1B

Josh Reddick RF

Joc Pederson CF

Yasmani Grandal C

Chase Utley 2B

Clayton Kershaw P


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