It looked to be another long afternoon for the Chicago Cubs, as the Los Angeles Dodgers jumped out to a 6-1 lead on the heels of two Adrian Gonzalez home runs in the first three innings. But for the fans that hung around, Chris Coghlan would give them something to cheer about.
Coghlan went 4-for-4 with two home runs, including the eventual game-winner in the eighth; a two-run shot to give the Cubs their first lead and the only one they’d need.
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The Cubs (68-86) for the second day in a row found themselves in an early hole as Felix Doubront struggled early, allowing six runs in 2 1/3 innings. For the second day in a row, manager Rick Renteria turned the ball over to his bullpen early. This time they were up to the challenge.
The Dodgers (88-66) would muster only one more run, a fielder’s choice double play, allowing Matt Kemp to score.
J.P. Howell allowed four runs in the seventh inning to give the Cubs a chance in the last couple of innings. An RBI single from Anthony Rizzo, and a three-run home run by Arismendy Alcantara cut the Dodgers lead to only one.
Justin Grimm (5-2) pitched a scoreless eighth, and put himself in position for the win.
The Dodgers sent former closer Brian Wilson (2-4) to the mound to hold the Cubs in the bottom half, but they had no such plans. John Baker ripped a first-pitch fastball for a single to begin the frame. Baker was forced at second when Matt Szczur‘s sac bunt attempt failed. Coghlan, with an opportunity for the cycle, shrugged that bit of history off and opted for his second home run of the game for the 8-7 lead.
Hector Rondon closed out the ninth in quick fashion for his 12th consecutive save conversion.
The Cubs will have the chance to split the series tomorrow as Jacob Turner ( 1-3, 6.93) will face Dan Haren (13-11, 4.14), unless Dodgers manager Don Mattingly decides to make a change to his rotation with the playoff race so tightly contested. The game is a 1:20 p.m. CT start at Wrigley Field.