In a game featuring one of the best pitchers in the game taking the mound, yet the Chicago Cubs could not get hits to fall. And now, the series is tied 1-1.
The match-up was talked about since the NLCS teams announced their starters. The Los Angeles Dodgers sent Clayton Kershaw to the mound in Game 2 of the NLCS in Wrigley. The accolades for Kershaw cement him as one of the game’s best pitchers, and he proved it early in the game.
Staked to an early one-run lead, Kershaw set the Chicago Cubs batters down in order for four and two-thirds innings, until Javier Baez broke up the perfect game. That one run came as a second inning Adrian Gonzalez home run off of Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks. It stood as only run he would allow in his five and one-third innings of work.
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Hendricks pitched well overall, only allowing two hits and one run,while striking out five. However, he also walked four, struggling to find the plate at times. He left the game with two runners on and only one out. Carl Edwards, Jr. took the place of Hendricks, but it was a great defensive play by Baez kept the runners from scoring.
Baez continues to shine
With Gonzalez and Justin Turner on first and second, Baez allowed a low-liner off the bat of Joc Pederson to fall in front of him. He threw to second to force out Turner, and then the Cubs caught Gonzalez in a rundown. The Cubs turned two double plays, keeping them in the game.
The first time around the Cubs lineup proved easy for Kershaw, as the bats did not make the Cy Young winner throw pitches. Through four innings, he threw only 40 pitches. Anthony Rizzo threatened a long-ball in his second at-bat, but the ball pushed foul. Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell followed with long fly-ball outs.
The third time around, the Cubs started making Kershaw work, going to consecutive three-ball counts in the sixth to Dexter Fowler and Kris Bryant, the first all game. Both failed to get on base. But, Rizzo walked on four pitches in the seventh. Kershaw’s armor held up, and the lefty kept the Cubs at bay. Seven shutout innings for Kershaw, with two hits, a walk, and six strikeouts.
Aroldis Chapman made his sixth appearance this post season for the Chicago Cubs. However, he struggled to find the strike zone. A lead-off walk, a stole base, and a sacrifice bunt put Pederson on third with one out. The Dodgers failed to knock him in. They did not score off the Cubs bullpen.
The Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jansen took the mound in the eighth and he set the Cubs down in order. It is his first six-out save of his career.