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Dodgers edge ahead, Blue Jays alive

Dodgers edge ahead, Blue Jays alive

The Los Angeles Dodgers shut out the Chicago Cubs to lead their MLB playoff series as the Toronto Blue Jays stayed alive.

Rich Hill pitched six strong innings for the Dodgers as they beat the Cubs 6-0 to take a 2-1 National League (NL) Championship Series lead.

Yasmani Grandal blasted a two-run homer and had three RBIs, while Justin Turner also homered.

The Blue Jays closed the gap in the American League (AL) Championship Series with a 5-1 win over the Cleveland Indians.

Edwin Encarnacion went two-for-four with two RBIs and Aaron Sanchez got through six innings at the Rogers Centre.

The Indians, however, are still in control with a 3-1 series lead.

 

CUBS, ARRIETA STRUGGLE

Cubs shake up lineup to no avail. Joe Maddon benched $184million man Jason Heyward with Hill on the mound, opting for Jorge Soler in right with Miguel Montero at catcher and Javier Baez moving up to number five in the order. Maddon hoped the moves would jumpstart the stagnant Cubs bats, but it did nothing except push the club into a deeper slump.

Arrieta's late-season anomalies catch up with him. Although he is the reigning NL Cy Young winner, Jake Arrieta did have a number of missteps late in the regular season. Over his final eight regular-season starts, the right-hander owned a 4.74 ERA that included a seven-walk outing against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley. Opponents had 23 stolen bases in 26 attempts against Arrieta in the regular season and the Dodgers' Josh Reddick stole two against him in the fourth inning Tuesday before scoring on Grandal's home run. 

Sanchez delivers again with season on the line. The AL ERA leader carried a no-hit bid into seventh inning on the final day of the regular season when the Jays clinched a postseason birth. The young right-hander was stellar again, hurling six innings of one-run ball in his second postseason start. He allowed just two hits with five strikeouts to give the Blue Jays their fourth consecutive postseason win when facing elimination at home.

 

GRANDAL HOMERS

Grandal's first career postseason homer put the Dodgers ahead 3-0 in the fourth inning.

SERIES CONTINUE

The Cubs will face another southpaw as Julio Urias (5-2, 3.39 ERA) takes the mound for the Dodgers, looking to keep his recent hot streak alive. Urias, who will become the youngest starting pitcher (20 years, 68 days) in MLB postseason history, owns a 1.90 ERA since the All-Star break. John Lackey (11-8, 3.35 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Cubs as the veteran right-hander looks to improve from his last start, which lasted four innings (three runs) in the Cubs' NL Division Series game four win over the San Francisco Giants.

Ryan Merritt, who has one career MLB start and 11 total career innings pitched, will take the ball for the Tribe while the Blue Jays look to continue their historic trek to win a series after trailing 3-0. The 2004 Red Sox (ALCS vs. the Yankees), who were managed by current Indians skipper Terry Francona, remain the only team to rally from a 3-0 deficit to advance from a seven-game series. Marco Estrada, who hurled a complete game in game one, will toe the rubber for the Jays.