LOS ANGELES — Kris Bryant's throwaway joke after the Cubs' Game 3 loss suddenly became relevant Wednesday night.
When discussing the Cubs' lifeless offense, Bryant joked Anthony Rizzo's broken bat infield dribbler in the ninth inning Tuesday night could be the hit that gets them started.
Turns out, he was at least on the right track.
The Cubs offense busted out in a gigantic way in a 10-2 victory over the Dodgers to turn the tide in the National League Championship Series in front of 54,449 stunned fans at Dodger Stadium.
After the Cubs made everybody back in Chicago sweat with three more hitless, scoreless innings to start the game (running their scoring drought to 21 innings), they exploded in the fourth inning.
Ben Zobrist got things started with a perfect bunt single.
"It just seems like it always goes that way," Bryant said. "It's never like a bomb or any of that. It's kinda just the jammed-shot blooper, the bunt single and that's what happened today."
Javy Baez followed with a single of his own. Willson Contreras lifted a ball into left for a base hit and an aggressive send of Zobrist led to a wild throw home by Dodgers left fielder Andrew Toles, and just like that, the Cubs were on the board.
Jason Heyward followed with an RBI groundout, and then Addison Russell exploded out of his slump with a two-run shot to right-center.
The Cubs had sent 82 straight batters to the plate without scoring a run, and on a span of nine pitches in the fourth inning, they scored four runs.
The offense wasn't done there.
Anthony Rizzo hit a solo homer in the top of the fifth, and after the Dodgers pushed across a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth, the Cubs answered with five more runs in the sixth.
Rizzo and Russell were a combined 3-for-50 in the postseason entering play Wednesday. They tallied six hits between them in Game 4.
"Take it one game at a time," said Bryant, who also stated he never saw Rizzo or Russell get frustrated during their slump and throw things or lash out. "That's kinda what we did today.
"I mean, tough loss yesterday. Come out, forget about it, regroup and our bats woke up, which is nice. I think everybody saw what this team can do when we swing 'em."
John Lackey threw four shutout innings before walking the first two batters he faced in the fifth.
Joe Maddon went to the bullpen and Mike Montgomery allowed those two runners to score before escaping from there and eventually picking up the win.
The Cubs relievers shut the Dodgers down the rest of the way.
By evening the series, the Cubs have done three things — ensured the NLCS will come back to Chicago, turned the series into a best-of-three matchup and reclaimed home-field advantage with Games 6 and 7 at Wrigley Field.
"It's baseball. It's a series," Bryant said. "You gotta win four games. We lost two up until today and we feel great about it.
"There's no need to get thinking all crazy like that. We knew that Anthony was gonna swing the bat well, Addy's gonna swing the bat well. It was just a matter of time. Everybody had a good at-bat today and that's huge for our confidence as a group."
The Cubs will send ace Jon Lester to the mound Thursday night in the last of the three games in Los Angeles. Lester allowed only one run in six innings in Game 1 of the NLCS.
The Dodgers announced Kenta Maeda as the starter for Game 5, but would they actually turn to Clayton Kershaw?
The Cubs, meanwhile, have their mojo back and their confidence is soaring no matter who is pitching for the Dodgers.
Dexter Fowler summed up the mood in the Cubs clubhouse after Game 4 simply:
"That was a good start."