NLDS Game Three: Jorge Soler, Cubs power way to victory
Clubbing a postseason-record six homers, the Chicago Cubs moved within one game of the NLCS with an 8-6 win over the St. Louis Cardinals Monday.
On a night when Jake Arrieta lacked his best stuff, falling victim to the merciless Wrigley Field winds, the Cubs’ offense picked up the slack, led by outfielder Jorge Soler – one of the underrated rookies ready to make a name for himself.
Soler has now reached base in all nine of his postseason plate appearances, going 2-for-2 with a pair of runs and two walks on the night.
Chicago got it rolling early, taking a 1-0 lead on Kyle Schwarber‘s second home run of the postseason, but it was short-lived, as the Cardinals got to Arrieta in the fourth – scoring a pair of runs on a Jhonny Peralta double and Tommy Pham RBI groundout.
From there, though, the Cubs got it rolling, en route to a 2-1 edge in the NLDS – putting them one win away from their first National League Championship Series performance since 2003.
Second baseman Starlin Castro homered in the bottom of the fourth to tie things up and then, the Cubs’ bats got things rolling.
Third baseman Kris Bryant launched his first long-ball of the postseason in the fifth, propelling Chicago to a 4-2 edge and the bromance between Bryant and Anthony Rizzo went to another level when the Cubs’ first baseman hit a homer of his own, making it back-to-back blasts.
Arrieta, who has been so dominant since the All-Star Break, fell short for the first time in months in the sixth, as outfielder Jason Heyward took him deep for a two-run shot to pull the Cardinals within one, 5-4.
However, it was Soler who gave Chicago their ultimately-necessary insurance tallies later that inning when he took former Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright deep on the first pitch he saw, pushing the Cubs’ edge to 7-4.
In the bottom of the eighth, Dexter Fowler connected against Jonathan Broxton to make it 8-4. A two-run shot by Stephen Piscotty in the ninth pulled St. Louis within two, but Hector Rondon nailed things down to preserve the win.
What Stood Out:
Addison Russell ripped a triple off the left-field wall, but left the game after awkwardly sliding into third base ahead of the throw from Cardinals left-fielder Matt Holliday.
According to reports, Russell left with a tight hamstring. No further details were released regarding his availability for Tuesday’s pivotal Game 4. His replacement, Javier Baez, was shaky on defense, making a big error late in the game.
Right-hander Jason Hammel will make his first postseason start in the potential clincher on Tuesday afternoon at Wrigley Field, with first pitch set for 3:30 p.m. CT.
The Cardinals are expected to counter with veteran right-hander John Lackey, who turned in a dominant start against Chicago in Game 1.
Next: Cubs' Rondon amongst the league's best closers this year