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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: Kurt Suzuki breaks World Series Game 2 tie with long solo homer

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The postseason has a knack for finding unlikely heroes. Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki was 1-for-23 in the postseason entering Wednesday’s Game 2 of the World Series. The Nats and Astros each plated two runs in the first inning, then went otherwise scoreless through the sixth inning. In the top of the seventh, with Justin Verlander returning to the mound, Suzuki demolished a high, 1-0 fastball just below the train tracks in left field at Minute Maid Park, breaking the 2-2 tie.

Verlander proceeded to walk Victor Robles, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to take his veteran starter out of the game. Ryan Pressly came in to attempt to keep it a one-run game.

The underdog Nationals held on to defeat the Astros 5-4 in Game 1. Another victory by the Nats in Game 2 would put the Astros — heavy favorites according to oddsmakers — in a big hole.

Update: Pressly walked the first batter he faced, Trea Turner. Adam Eaton successfully sacrifice bunted both runners over. After Anthony Rendon flied out to shallow center field, Hinch decided to issue his team’s first intentional walk of the entire year to Juan Soto, loading the bases. Howie Kendrick then hit what appeared to be an inning-ending ground out, but Alex Bregman booted the ball as he moved to his left. Turner scored to make it 4-2. The floodgates opened when Asdrúbal Cabrera lined a single to center field, bringing home two more runs to pad the lead to 6-2. While pitching to Ryan Zimmerman, Pressly uncorked a wild pitch to allow the two base runners to advance. Zimmerman followed up with a slow roller down the third base line which Bregman barehanded and proceeded to throw away. Two more runs scored. 8-2. Yiiiikes, Astros.