The Chicago Cubs were staring at a 5-2 deficit and the distinct chance that it would need to play a decisive Game 5 to slay the Giants.
However, the Chicago Cubs had different plans. The team came alive in the top of the ninth inning to score four runs and take a 6-5 lead. The rally stunned the fans at AT&T Park. The Giants had won 10 straight elimination games, in recent years.
Aroldis Chapman, the flame-thrower, came in and fanned three Giants’ batters to send the Cubs on to NLCS for the second consecutive year.
It was a roaring way to end this series and it showed that this Cubs team has something special in them. “We don’t quit,” manager Joe Maddon said at a post-game press conference. The Cubbies certainly did not.
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Chicago will face either the LA Dodgers or the Washington Nationals in a few days. Actually, the Cubs could use the time, to digest this win and prepare for the next round.
Handcuffed all night by lefty Matt Moore, the Cubs only managed two hits off him and appeared totally out of rhythm at the plate. He retired the Cubs in the 8th inning and his job was done.
The Giants bullpen imploded as manager Bruce Bochy needed five pitchers to get three outs. Kris Bryant started out the rally with a single. Anthony Rizzo walked, and Ben Zobrist hit a double to score Rizzo and cut the lead to 5-3.
Willson Contreras then delivered a base hit to center to score Rizzo and Zobrist and this game was tied at 5-5. The crowd was stunned.
Javier Baez singled and drove home Jason Heyward who had reached second on a throwing error to give the Cubbies at 6-5 lead. Suddenly, the misery of having to fly back to Chicago was replaced by tremendous joy.
The Cubs came back from a difficult loss the night before on a walk-off hit in the 13th inning. There were so many twists and turns to that game that it could fill a Charles Dickens book. In that game, Chapman was hit hard giving up three runs only to be removed.
That was a rare sight. However, he redeemed himself in the last of the ninth in game four. Once again, the Cubs are the favorites to advance to the World Series. They had the best record in baseball this season. In their half of the ninth inning, they played like it.
Now, the team plays for the right to play in the World Series.