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Rich Hill silences Cubs in 6-0 victory, Dodgers take 2-1 NLCS lead

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On paper, Jake Arrieta versus Rich Hill seemed like an even matchup. In reality, Game 3 of the NLCS, it wasn’t even a contest as Hill brought his A-game and Arrieta brought his C-game. The Dodgers skated to a 6-0 victory on Tuesday evening, taking a 2-1 series lead over the Cubs.

The Dodgers opened the scoring in the bottom of the third inning. Andrew Toles led off with a single to left, advanced to second base on a ground out by Hill, then scored with two outs on a Corey Seager single to left field. Yasmani Grandal added two runs in the fourth with a two-run homer to right field. The Dodgers tacked on another in the fourth as Justin Turner drilled a solo homer to center field, chasing Arrieta from the game.

Arrieta went five innings, giving up the four runs on six hits with no walks and five strikeouts on 83 pitches. It’s the third time in five postseason starts that Arrieta has given up four runs in fewer than six innings of work.

Hill, meanwhile, was masterful. The lefty went six shutout innings, limiting the Cubs to two hits and two walks with six strikeouts on 93 pitches. Considering he pitched 4 1/3 mediocre innings in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Nationals and lasted 2 2/3 innings in a short-rest start in Game 5, it’s the kind of start the Dodgers yearned for out of Hill.

Joe Blanton took over in the seventh and executed a 1-2-3 inning, getting Javier Baez to line out, pinch-hitter Chris Coghlan to ground out, and Jason Heyward to strike out.

The Dodgers sent Grant Dayton out to the mound to start the eighth. The lefty struck out Willson Contreras to start the frame then got Albert Almora, Jr. to ground out. Dexter Fowler doubled down the left field line to give the Cubs some life. Closer Kenley Jansen entered to maintain the four-run lead. Jansen struck out Bryant, ending the Cubs’ threat.

In the bottom of the eighth, against reliever Mike Montgomery, Yasiel Puig singled with one out and came around to score on a double down the left field line by Joc Pederson, improving the Dodgers’ lead to 5-0. Pederson scored on a Grandal ground out, making it 6-0.

Jansen came back out for the ninth for some reason, protecting what had become a six-run lead. Ben Zobrist grounded out to first base. Anthony Rizzo reached on an infield single, but Jansen bounced back to strike out Baez and induce a game-ending lineout by Coghlan.

The Cubs have now been shut out in back-to-back games in the NLCS. The Dodgers will look to extend their NLCS lead in Game 4 on Wednesday evening. They’ll send Julio Urias to the bump, opposing Cubs right-hander John Lackey in an 8:00 PM EDT start.

Video: Pete Alonso hits home run no. 50

Pete Alonso
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Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has launched what appears to be the beginning of an auspicious career, made all the more notable by the 50 home runs he’s produced for the Mets so far this season. The All-Star slugger pushed his home run streak to four straight games on Friday, collecting no. 50 on an eighth-inning fastball from the Reds’ Sal Romano.

It’s just the latest of a long line of accomplishments for the 24-year-old infielder. Entering Friday’s series opener against Cincinnati, the first-time All-Star carried a .266/.366/.590 batting line with a league-leading 49 homers, 113 RBI, a .956 OPS and 4.9 fWAR through 648 plate appearances. Among those who are still rounding out their rookie seasons in 2019, he ranks first in home runs and fWAR by a long shot: the White Sox’ Eloy Jiménez is second in home runs with 28 dingers, while the Astros’ Yordan Álvarez plays second fiddle in fWAR with 3.7 Wins Above Replacement.

Even more remarkable: Alonso is the second rookie in MLB history to deliver at least 50 home runs in a single season. The first? Aaron Judge, who clubbed a jaw-dropping 52 homers for the Yankees in 2017.