Cubs end slump to level with Dodgers

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The Chicago Cubs' offense got going as they levelled their MLB playoff series against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 10-2 win.

The Cubs had failed to score a run since game one, but that changed as they squared the National League (NL) Championship Series at 2-2.

Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell both went three-for-five with a home run each, the former finishing with three RBIs to the latter's two.

Julio Urias lasted just 3.2 innings for the Dodgers, while John Lackey came through four for the Cubs.

The Cubs broke the game open in the top of the sixth with five runs.



The Cubs' bats finally wake up with the help of a bunt. Rizzo, Ben Zobrist and Russell combined for 280 RBIs in the regular season but entered game four a collective seven-for-76 (.092) this postseason. Zobrist ended his slump with a bunt single in the fourth inning. The unconventional hit jumpstarted the stagnant Cubs offense as Javier Baez and Willson Contreras followed with singles to end the Cubs' 21-inning scoreless streak. After an RBI groundout from Jason Heyward, Russell blasted his second hit of the postseason out of Dodger Stadium to give the Cubs a 4-0 lead. Rizzo went deep an inning later and finished with three hits, giving him five in total this postseason.

Dodgers' errors lead to blowout. There were six combined errors in the game but Los Angeles' mistakes were most devastating as they led to the Cubs' four-run fourth and five-run sixth innings. Chase Utley (missed catch), Andrew Toles (throw), Enrique Hernandez (throw), and Joc Pederson (throw) gave the Dodgers the most errors in a game this year. Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling did not help his own cause in the fifth as he gave up four singles, including one to pitcher Mike Montgomery.

Controversial play at the plate turns out not to be a factor. Heyward fielded a Toles single in right and fired a strong throw home to nab Adrian Gonzalez. The play was reviewed and it appeared Gonzalez got his hand on the plate before the tag was applied by Contreras but the umpiring crew in New York did not. Major League Baseball later announced "the Replay Official could not definitively determine that the runner's hand contacted home plate prior to the fielder applying the tag".



The first of three hits for Russell, who was demoted to the eighth spot in the order before the game.


Game one starters will square off again as the Dodgers send Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48 ERA) to the mound against southpaw Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44 ERA) on Thursday. Maeda has not been great dating back to the end of the regular season, owning a 9.88 ERA since September. 27. The Cubs won game one and hope Lester can continue the Dodgers' struggles against left-handed pitching.