The Chicago Cubs’ Javier Baez ignited the Wrigley faithful with an eighth-inning home run to lift them to a 1-0 victory over the Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS.
The Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants were locked in a pitchers duel for much of the night. Jon Lester and Johnny Cueto matched each other through 7 1/3 innings before Baez broke the tie with a blast that looked destined for the bleachers–but barely made the basket. It’s all counts for the Cubs.
Lester (1-0, 0.00) was everything the Cubs could have asked for and more. He struck out five while not walking a batter to keep them in the scoreless tie into the eighth. His batterymate David Ross did his part on the evening by throwing out a baserunner and picking off a runner at first to keep the score knotted.
The loss was no fault of Cueto (0-1, 1.13) who was brilliant in his own right. His 10 strikeouts matched a career playoff high for him but it wasn’t enough for the Giants. He made one mistake on the night, and it was to Baez in the eighth inning. Off the bat, it looked like it was headed for the street, but a strong wind blew the ball back into the basket, but still good enough for the lone run of the game.
Buster Posey kept it interesting in the ninth with a double to left with two outs. But Cubs’ closer Aroldis Chapman forced Hunter Pence to ground out to the aforementioned Baez to close out the game and send the Cubs to a 1-0 NLDS lead.
The two teams will go at it again tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. CT as the Cubs Kyle Hendricks will take on the Giants Jeff Samardzija in Game 2. We’ll have more coverage tomorrow and all the post-game analysis of tonight you can imagine.