Daniel Murphy homered again, Yoenis Cespedes scored the go-ahead run on a dropped third strike and the Mets went on to claim a comfortable 5-2 victory against the Cubs in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series Tuesday at Wrigley Field.
The Mets lead the best-of-seven series 3-0 with Game 4 Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs, who have scored five runs in three games against the Mets’ superb young pitching, were limited to four hits by ace Jacob deGrom, who struck out 10 and walked one in seven innings. deGrom is 3-0 in the postseason.
With the Mets leading 3-2, Cespedes drove in the Mets’ fourth run in the seventh with a deep line single off left fielder Kyle Schwarber’s glove as the Mets opened and ace Jacob deGrom opened a 5-2 lead in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.
Two of the Cubs hits were homers by rookies Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler.
The Mets padded a 3-2 lead with two runs in the eventful seventh. After Cespedes’ RBI single, which scored David Wright and pushed Murphy (infield single) to third, Lucas Duda hit a chopper to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who in one motion stepped on first and threw late to home as Murphy slid across with the Mets’ fifth run.
In a rocky sixth inning for the the Cubs, right-hander Trevor Cahill almost escaped when he struck out Michael Conforto on a low breaking pitch with two outs and Cespedes on third, but catcher Miguel Montero failed to block it, allowing Conforto to reach first and Cespedes to score the go-ahead run.
The Cubs then caught a break when Wilmer Flores, the next batter, hit a liner that dropped in front of and skipped past Soler in right field, the ball going to the wall but getting stuck in the ivy. Conforto, who was running on the pitch, would have scored easily but was sent back to third on the ground-rule double. With runners on second and third, Cahill retired Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom on a fly to left.
Mets manager Terry Collins argued that Conforto should have been allowed to score but to no avail.
The Cubs scored their runs on homers by Schwarber and Soler. Soler lined a game-tying solo home run to center field against deGrom in the fourth inning, his third home run of the postseason and his first of the NLCS, which the Mets lead two games to none.
Jorge Soler connects for a home run against Jacob deGrom in the fourth inning. AP
Murphy, the Mets’ Mr. October, homered to center field with two outs in the third to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.
Murphy has homered in all three games of this series and became the second player to homer in five consecutive postseason games, joining Carlos Beltran.
Schwarber made some history of his own when he hit a solo home run to left field to pull the Cubs into a 1-1 in the first inning. deGrom had not allowed a homer since Sept. 9.
It was Schwarber’s fifth home run of the postseason, a franchise record. At 22, he is the youngest player to hit five postseason homers. Schwarber also homered against Gerrit Cole, Michael Wacha, Kevin Siegrist and Matt Harvey.
Schwarber was tied with Alex Gonzalez and Aramis Ramirez in 2003 for the team’s playoff mark.
The game got off to an ominous start for the Cubs when shortstop Javier Baez misplayed a Curtis Granderson grounder for an error. Granderson was caught stealing but Cespedes drove a double to the left-center field gap to score David Wright from first and give the Mets a 1-0 lead. Wright, running on the pitch with two outs, scored without a play.
That came after Curtis Granderson reached on an error by shortstop Javier Baez to lead off the game. Granderson, though, was thrown out by Montero trying to steal second. That looked big after Wright singled to left field.
Hendricks pitched four innings, allowing two runs on five hits and one walk. He struck out four.
Left-hander Clayton Richard opened the fifth for the Cubs. He gave up a one-out walk to Granderson and a single to Wright, but Murphy hit into a double play.
Cahill entered in the sixth and gave up a leadoff single to Cespedes, who was bunted to second by Lucas Duda. Cespedes then got a big jump on Cahill and stole third, forcing the Cubs infield to play in. Cahill retired Travis d’Arnaud on a grounder to Kris Bryant, Cespedes holding at third. Cahill then struck out Conforto but Montero, who had blocked three low breaking balls in the dirt, couldn’t stop the one that allowed the go-ahead run to score.
Mets ace Jacob deGrom allowed two runs on four hits and one walk, striking out 10 Cubs. AP