Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s gamble didn’t pay off and his team paid for it with a 4-1 loss in Game 2 of the NLCS on Sunday night. The skipper opted to bring in John Lackey in the ninth inning rather than Wade Davis to pitch to Chris Taylor and Justin Turner. Lackey ran the count full before walking Taylor, then served up the three-run dinger to left-center field on a 1-0 fastball.
The game was a low-scoring affair otherwise, with each team managing just one run through the first eight innings. Dodgers starter Rich Hill went five innings, giving up one run on an Addison Russell solo home run in the top of the fifth. That was one of three hits he allowed along with a walk and eight strikeouts. Brandon Morrow pitched two innings of scoreless relief followed by Josh Fields for one out, Tony Watson for two, and Kenley Jansen for three.
On the Cubs side, Jon Lester didn’t escape the fifth inning, when he yielded a run when Turner drove in Charlie Culberson with a single to right field. Lester overall gave up three hits, walked five, and struck out two. Carl Edwards, Jr. got the final out of the fifth and then managed a scoreless sixth. Pedro Strop put up a zero in the seventh. Brian Duensing got through the eighth with no issue, then started the ninth but was lifted after striking out Kyle Farmer for the second out. That set up Lackey for Turner’s walk-off moment.
Turner’s walk-off homer is the Dodgers’ first since Kirk Gibson against Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
The two clubs will take Monday off before resuming the NLCS for Game 3 on Tuesday at 9 PM ET in Chicago. Yu Darvish will start for the Dodgers opposite Kyle Hendricks.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.