LOS ANGELES — The Cubs’ slumbering bats woke up Wednesday night.
And not a moment too soon.
After getting shut out in Games 2 and 3 of the National League Championship Series and then failing to get a hit in the first three innings against 20-year-old lefty Julio Urias on Wednesday night, the Cubs erupted with home runs by slumping Addison Russell and Anthony Rizzo and rolled to a 10-2 victory over the Dodgers to even the National League Championship Series at two games apiece.
The Cubs scored four in the fourth inning, one in the fifth and five in the sixth. Russell’s blast to center field in the fourth made it 4-0.
Game 5 is Thursday in Los Angeles (7:08 p.m. Central, FoxSports1, 670-AM) with Cubs ace left-hander Jon Lester pitching against Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda. The result insures a Game 6 Saturday at Wrigley Field.
Rizzo and Russell, hitting .077 and .042, respectively, in the postseason going into the game, each had three hits. Ben Zobrist and Dexter Fowler had two each in a 13-hit attack against Urias and five Dodgers relievers.
John Lackey pitched four-plus innings and was charged with two runs.
Dodgers ninth: Hector Rondon wraps it up and it’s handshakes all around.
Cubs ninth: The Cubs are enjoying a 10-2 lead and are already looking ahead to Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. A win tonight will even the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.
Dodgers eighth: Right-hander Pedro Strop pitching. He sets down the Dodgers in order.
Cubs eighth: Anthony Rizzo, now using Matt Szczur’s bat after striking out twice with his own, muscles a single over shortstop Corey Seager for his third straight hit with his new lumber. Two singles and a homer. Cubs do not score.
Dodgers seventh: Carl Edwards Jr. takes over for Mike Montgomery, who pitched two scoreless innings. After recording two outs and issuing a walk, Edwards exits with left hamstring tightness and is replaced by Travis Wood. The Dodgers do not score.
Cubs seventh: This game is past the three hour mark already. Cubs don’t score.
Dodgers sixth: The Cubs have out-hit the Dodgers 11-5. Mike Montgomery pitches a 1-2-3 inning, starting with a called third strike on Joc Pederson, who argues vehemently.
Cubs sixth: Anthony Rizzo appears to be out of his slump, which is — understatement here — a welcome turn of events for the Cubs. Rizzo was batting .077 in the postseason going into this one.
A liner to right for a two-run single follows Rizzo’s homer to center in the fifth. Singles by Addison Russell (infield, plus an error), pitcher Mike Montgomery and Dexter Fowler (RBI) against reliever Ross Stripling got the inning going. The Cubs have scored in each of the last three innings.
The Dodgers got raggedy on Javier Baez’ short sacrifice fly to center fielder Joc Pederson, who made a diving catch, with Kris Bryant scoring easily from third. When Pederson’s throw home skipped past catcher Yasmani Grandal, Rizzo dashed for home and was safe when pitcher Luis Avalin’s throw from his back-up position was off the mark.
Dodgers fifth: The Dodgers get two runs to cut the lead and are still batting. With the bases loaded and one out, Justin Turner bounces a single off left-hander Mike Montgomery’s glove into short left field for a two-run single.
Unfortunately for Montgomery and the Cubs, Turner’s ball appeared headed to the left of shortstop Addison Russel for a possible double play. Russell, moving left, tried cutting back to his right but went down as the ball rolled onto the outfield grass.
John Lackey, who opened with four scoreless innings, got an early hook from manager Joe Maddon after he walked Andrew Toles and pinch-hitter Andre Either. Left-handed hitting Chase Utley was due up at the top of the order, and Maddon brought in Montgomery. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts countered with Howie Kendrick, who singled to right to load the bases.
Lackey, who made his 22nd postseason start — the most among active pitchers — was obviously not happy about being pulled but said little after watching Maddon walk out to remove him. Lackey threw 72 pitches.
Cubs fifth: The Cubs bats, silent against Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Kenley Jansen in Games 2 and 3, have come alive. Struggling slugger Anthony Rizzo homers to center field against Pedro Baez to make it 5-0.
Dodgers fourth: After Cubs starter John Lackey retires the first two Dodgers in the fourth, Willson Contreras is called for catcher’s interference for the second time in the postseason. Lackey is livid, yelling at Contreras for the mistake, and when Joc Pederson follows with a single, Lackey turns to Contreras and gives him some more guff.
This is a key inning for a pitcher — the hoped-for shutdown after a productive inning from the offense. The Cubs scored four in the top half. But Lackey strikes out, Yasmani Grandal to end the inning, and there is no harm — except for the rookie Contreras’ pride, perhaps.
It’s the second time the 37-year-old Lackey went off on a teammate. He gave it to Javy Baez for a bad throw turning a double play in the first, but Contreras ended the impending mess by picking off Justin Turner at second.
Speaking of blowing a gasket: Turner, after getting called out on strikes by Angel Hernandez on a low fastball, went a third of the way up the first base line before realizing he had been called out. The Dodgers are not Hernandez fans tonight.
Cubs fourth: Addison Russell drives a 2-0 pitch over the center field wall for a two-run homer, extending the Cubs lead to 4-0. All four runs have scored this inning after 20-year-old lefty Julio Urias held the Cubs without a hit in the first three.
The Cubs get their first hits against Urias, a leadoff bunt single by Ben Zobrist and a soft liner to left by Javier Baez, and then they score the first run of the game as Willson Contreras drives in Zobrist, snapping the Cubs scoreless innings streak at 21 and giving them a 1-0 lead. Jason Heyward’s grounder to second scores Baez to make it 2-0.
Left fielder Andrew Toles had a play on Zobrist, but his throw was well wide of catcher Yasmani Grandal, skipping away for an error allowing Baez and Contreras to reach third and second.
The Dodgers bring in Pedro Baez, the slowest working pitcher in baseball, to get the last out of the fourth.
Dodgers third: John Lackey pitched a perfect inning, but not without a scare as Chase Utley backs right fielder Jason Heyward’s back to the wall for the second out.
Cubs third: Anthony Rizzo is in a deep hitting funk. He strikes out for the second time in two at-bats to end the inning after Kris Bryant’s two-out walk. Twenty-year-old Julio Urias hasn’t allowed a hit in three innings, and the Cubs haven’t scored in 21 straight.
Urias has walked two and his pitch count is at 54. Rizzo went into the game batting .077 in the postseason.
Dodgers second: Adrian Gonzalez tries to score on Andrew Toles’ two-out single but is called out at home on right fielder Jason Heyward’s throw to end the inning. The Dodgers challenge the call and think — along with most fans at Dodger Stadium watching the replay — that they have a good case, but after a two minute, 51 second review, umpire Angel Hernandez’s call is upheld.
Catcher Willson Contreras caught the ball on the first base side of the plate and lunged toward home to get a mitt on Gonzalez’ hand as he made a head-first slide.
The Dodgers bench goes nuts. They were pretty sure they had a run, but the inning is over.
Gonzalez led off the inning with a single and went to second when John Lackey walked Yasmani Grandal.
Cubs second: A walk to Javier Baez and a rare error on second baseman Chase Utley put runners on first and second with one out against Julio Urias, but the Cubs failed to take advantage. Jason Heyward, batting .105 in the postseason, struck out for the second out before Addison Russell flied out to the warning track in left. The Cubs have now failed to score in 20 consecutive innings against Dodgers pitching.
Here’s how the Dodgers gave the Cubs a chance: Shortstop Corey Seager dived to his left to stop a sharp grounder off the bat of Willson Contreras and flipped to Utley from the ground, but Utley, trying to make a barehand catch at the bag, dropped the ball, and Baez was safe.
Cubs fans seem to be more vocal here tonight.
Dodgers first: The age difference between Cubs starter John Lackey and Dodgers starter Julio Urias is 17 years, 294 days. that’s the fifth largest in playoff history.
Lackey is here to win. He lost his cool early after getting Justin Turner to hit a double-play grounder to shortstop Addison Russell that should have ended the inning. But Corey Seager’s takeout slide at second caused Javier Baez to throw wide of first, allowing Turner (who reached getting hit on the foot by a Lackey slider) to get to second. Lackey yelled an expletive at Baez and appeared to say “Let’s go!” after the play.
It was all’s well that ends well for the Cubs, though, as catcher Willson Contreras picked Turner off second with Adrian Gonzalez at bat. Russell made great play getting the tag down on Turner’s hand.
The Cubs opened Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against 20-year-old left-hander Julio Urias with their 19th consecutive inning without a run.
Dexter Fowler and Kris Bryant grounded out and Rizzostruck out against 20-year-old left-hander Julio Urias, who retired the side in order.
The Cubs look to veteran right-hander John Lackey, making his 22nd career postseason start, and a struggling lineup in dire need of a turnaround at Dodger Stadim
The Dodgers, who shut out the Cubs in Games 2 and 3, own a 2-1 series lead. Urias is the youngest pitcher to start a postseason game.
Here are the starting lineups:
Dexter Fowler CF
Kris Bryant 3B
Anthony Rizzo 1B
Ben Zobrist LF
Javier Baez 2B
Willson Contreras C
Jason Heyward RF
Addison Russell SS
John Lackey P
Chase Utley 2B
Corey Seager SS
Justin Turner 3B
Adrian González 1B
Josh Reddick RF
Joc Pederson CF
Yasmani Grandal C
Andrew Toles LF
Julio Urías P