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Chicago Cubs: Early runs leads to Cubs win in bullpen battle

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Jul 7, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Travis Wood (37) enters the game during the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 7, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Travis Wood (37) enters the game during the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Cubs struck early in Game 2 versus the San Francisco Giants, jumping the Shark in two innings. The Cubs lead 2-0 in the best of five series.

It did not take until the eighth inning for the Cubs to score in Game 2 of the NLDS. The runs came early, pushing Giants starter Jeff Samardzija to the bench after two innings. It all started with a pair of lead-off doubles.

5. 9. Final. 2. 40

Leading off the bottom of the first, Dexter Fowler struck a double down the right field line. After two outs, Ben Zobrist looped a single into right, scoring Fowler.

Jason Heyward stepped up in the bottom of the second lining another double to right. This was followed with a walk by Javier Baez and a single to right by Willson Contreras, loading the bases. Cubs starter Kyle Hendrick then laced an RBI single to center on the first pitch he saw. Heyward and Baez scored. Kris Bryant singled home Contreras two batters later. The Cubs lead 4-0 after two innings, and Samardzija’s night was done.

But the Giants had moments early as well. Hendricks appeared to keep the ball up in the zone, allowing for solid contact by Giants hitters. However, most of those were foul. Then, in the third, a pair of doubles by Joe Panik and Gregor Blanco opened the Giants scoring.  Blanco would score on a sacrifice fly, but tat was all the Giants would get across the plate.

Hendricks night did not last long. A line drive off the bat of Angel Pagan hit the Cubs starter in the right forearm. He was taking out for precautionary reasons and is listed as day-to-day with a contusion. Additionally, Hendricks threw the ball away and given an error. Travis Wood came in from the pen and made history.

In the bottom of the fourth, Wood crushed the first pitch into the left-center field bleachers. He is the first relief pitcher to hit a home run in the post-season since New York Giant’s Rosy Ryan did it in 1924.

With Hendricks out earlier than normal, Cubs Manager Joe Maddon used the depth of his pen to hold the Giants at bay. Following Wood was Carl Edward Jr.,  Mike Montgomery, Hector Rondon, and Aroldis Chapman. They combined for 5.1 innings of scoreless relief.

The Chicago Cubs youth movement keeps leading the way. Baez went 1-3, with a walk, single, a run, and an RBI. His single in the sixth could have been a double. However, thinking he hit a home run, Baez was slow out of the box and called out at second after coming off the bag. Contreras posted similar numbers going 2-3 and scoring a run.

Next: Chicago Cubs’ catchers deserve mention in pitching staff success

Both teams will travel to San Francisco on Sunday with Game 3 on Monday night, October 10. Jake Arrieta will pitch for the Cubs, who will face Madison Bumgarner. First pitch is scheduled for 9:38pm Eastern Time. Fans can watch on FS1.

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