Bote’s grand slam in 9th lifts Cubs over Nationals 4-3

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CHICAGO (AP) Pinch-hitter David Bote smashed a grand slam against Ryan Madson with two outs in the ninth inning to lift the Chicago Cubs to a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Sunday night.

Bote’s long drive to center field came after Washington’s Max Scherzer and Chicago’s Cole Hamels delivered simply dominant starts.

Madson (2-5) came in with a 3-0 lead to start the ninth and quickly ran into trouble.

He gave up an infield single to Jason Heyward with one out and hit Albert Almora with a pitch. Madson then retired Kyle Schwarber on a foul pop before hitting Contreras to load the bases, but Bote drove a 2-2 pitch well beyond the center-field wall.

Teammates mobbed him as he crossed the plate and fans chanted “Bote! Bote!” It was quite a turn after the Cubs got shut down for most of the night. But they managed to take two of three in the first meeting between these teams since Chicago won the NL Division Series last year.

Bote’s drive made a winner of Justin Wilson (4-3), who got the final two outs in the ninth.

The Nationals managed just three hits, but looked as though they were on their way with Scherzer tossing three-hit ball over seven scoreless innings. The three-time Cy Young Award winner struck out 11 and walked one.

Hamels was about as good, giving up just one run and one hit in seven innings. He struck out nine and walked one in his third start since Chicago acquired him from Texas.

The only hit he allowed was Daniel Murphy‘s single in the second to put runners on first and third. Mark Reynolds then drove in Ryan Zimmerman with a sacrifice fly.

The Nationals did not get another hit until Trea Turner tripled against Brandon Kintzler in the ninth. Back-to-back walks to Juan Soto and Bryce Harper – the second being intentional – loaded the bases for Zimmerman, who then chased Kintzler with an RBI single.

Wilson then retired Murphy on fly to left before Reynolds struck out looking.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: The Nationals held 3B Anthony Rendon out of the lineup for the second straight game because of a sore left wrist. … Closer Sean Doolittle (left toe inflammation) hopes to start throwing off the mound in the next day or two. He has not pitched since July 6.

Cubs: The Cubs activated RHP Anthony Bass (right mid-thoracic strain) and assigned him to Triple-A Iowa after he cleared waivers.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Washington opens a four-game series at surging St. Louis, with LHP Tommy Milone (1-1, 5.50 ERA) starting for the Nationals and RHP Miles Mikolas (12-3, 2.74) pitching for the Cardinals.

Cubs: Send LHP Jose Quintana (10-8, 4.28) to the mound when they open a two-game series against Milwaukee on Tuesday. Quintana is 3-0 in his past four starts at Wrigley Field. RHP Jhoulys Chacin (11-4, 3.91) pitches for the Brewers.

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Dodgers plan to tab Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of World Series

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MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.

Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.

Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.

Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.

The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.