The Chicago Cubs won an MLB-best 103 games in 2016 and were apparently tired of hearing about the doom and gloom surrounding their season facing a 2-1 deficit in the National League Championship Series.

They crushed the Los Angeles Dodgers, 10-2, in Wednesday’s Game 4 at Dodger Stadium to tie the series at two games apiece behind a powerful statement from an offense that finished third in MLB in runs scored this season. It was a drastic change from Games 2 and 3, when the Cubs were held scoreless in two straight losses.

Chicago quickly got to 20-year-old starter Julio Urias, who lasted just 3.2 innings and allowed four earned runs, four hits and two walks. Pedro Baez allowed one earned run from the bullpen, and Ross Stripling gave up the remaining five, four of which were earned.

Addison Russell and Anthony Rizzo each drilled home runs to spearhead the Cubs offense. Rizzo finished with three hits, three RBI and two runs scored, while Russell tallied three hits, two RBI and two runs. Willson Contreras, Jason Heyward, Javier Baez and Dexter Fowler each also added RBI.

Radio personality Jim Rome reacted to the offensive outburst:

Cubs starter John Lackey pitched four-plus innings and allowed two earned runs, three hits and three walks, but the bullpen combination of Mike Montgomery, Carl Edwards Jr., Travis Wood, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon shut the Dodgers down the rest of the way.

Justin Turner tallied both RBI for Los Angeles in the losing effort.

While the bats were the story Wednesday, the Cubs built early momentum in the field. Contreras picked off Corey Seager on second base from his catcher spot to end the Dodgers’ threat in the first, and Heyward threw out Adrian Gonzalez at home plate in the second. 

Gonzalez was trying to score on Andrew Toles’ single. He was called out on the field, but replay review highlighted how close the play was when Heyward hesitated with the throw and Contreras tagged Gonzalez high. 

CBS Sports MLB underscored just how close the Dodgers came to scoring the opening run:

Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper weighed in on the play:

Chicago finally snapped its scoreless streak at 21 innings in the fourth when Ben Zobrist bunted for a hit, advanced to second on Baez’s single and scored on Contreras’ hit. Baez scored on a groundout from Heyward to make it 2-0, and Russell busted the inning open with a two-run homer to center field.

Russell had one hit the entire postseason coming into Wednesday’s game, and Mike Berman of NBC Chicago recognized the relief as the shortstop was rounding the bases:

Rizzo followed Russell’s example and busted out of his own slump in the fifth with a solo blast to center to make it 5-0. The powerful first baseman had just two hits in this postseason before Wednesday’s game, and Bradford Doolittle of responded to the overdue long ball:

The Dodgers drove Lackey from the game in the bottom of the fifth when he walked Toles and Andre Ethier. Howie Kendrick loaded the bases with nobody out with a single off Montgomery, and Turner plated two when his ground ball deflected off the Cubs’ southpaw’s glove. However, Montgomery kept the score at 5-2 by inducing groundouts from Gonzalez and Enrique Hernandez.

Chicago’s offense essentially put the game away in the sixth when it pushed across five runs. Rizzo highlighted the rally with a two-RBI single and a run on Baez’s sacrifice fly that plated two after an error.

Mark Schanowski of Comcast SportsNet Chicago noted Rizzo’s breakout game carried weight that extended beyond Wednesday’s game:

Montgomery pitched a scoreless sixth, and Edwards Jr. and Wood combined to keep the Dodgers off the board in the seventh. About the only thing that went wrong for the Cubs was the fact Edwards left the game with left hamstring tightness, per Carrie Muskat of

Strop made quick work of the Dodgers with a 1-2-3 eighth, and Rondon finished the contest with a scoreless ninth.


What’s Next?

Game 5 is Thursday in Los Angeles.

It will be a critical swing game in the best-of-seven format with the winner a single victory away from the World Series. The series will shift back to Chicago for at least Game 6 after the Cubs’ win, so the Dodgers will need to win Thursday’s contest to avoid a situation where they would have to win two straight at Wrigley Field. 

The Cubs will give the ball to Cy Young candidate Jon Lester, who has been brilliant in the postseason with one earned run allowed in 14 innings. According to, the Dodgers will counter with Kenta Maeda, who allowed three earned runs in four innings in his Game 1 start and gave up four earned runs in three innings against the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series.

However, Los Angeles has Clayton Kershaw looming as a potential option if it wants to use him on short rest. If the dominant southpaw doesn’t go in Game 5, the Cubs would be wise to approach it as a must-win, lest they face Kershaw with a 3-2 deficit in Game 6.


Postgame Reaction

Despite losing by eight runs, Gonzalez still wasn’t pleased that his potential run was wiped out after replay review:

“Let’s be honest. After that, we played a sloppy game,” Gonzalez said when discussing the play, per Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times.

After the game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he would use Maeda and not Kershaw for Thursday’s contest, per Arash Markazi of ESPN: “Tomorrow is not an elimination game or a deciding game.”

On the other side, Russell talked about his performance, per David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune: “I’ve been struggling this postseason a little but didn’t panic. My confidence was still there.”

Rizzo said he used Matt Szczur’s bat for his big hits after struggling early in the game, per Haugh: “The first two at-bats weren’t so hot…I hit well with his bat so he has hits in it.”

Cubs manager Joe Maddon was already looking ahead to the next game, per Markazi: “It would be nice to come out on top tomorrow and go home having to win one of two. We’ve been pretty good at Wrigley.”

If his team hits like it did Wednesday, that won’t be a problem.

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