Cubs rise above adversity to take commanding lead over Giants in NLDS

Cubs rise above adversity to take commanding lead over Giants in NLDS

The sight of Kyle Hendricks walking off the field and into the clubhouse after being struck by a line drive could've been enough to derail the Cubs' good vibes Saturday evening.

Instead, the Cubs never took their foot off the gas and held on for a 5-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants in front of 42,392 fans at Wrigley Field to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the National League Division Series.

Hendricks was only able to throw 52 pitches, surrendering two runs in 3.2 innings before being forced out of action when Angel Pagan's comebacker hit his right forearm.

In a strange twist of fate, the injury actually helped the Cubs in the short term, as reliever Travis Wood came in and promptly struck out Conor Gillaspie to end the fourth and then blasted a solo homer on the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the inning.

"It happened pretty quick," Wood said. "It always does in a situation like that. As a bullpen guy, you're always prepared - especially with Joe [Maddon] - for any situation, anything that pops up, so you kind of keep your body and your mind locked into the game.

"So I was ready to come in. And then the at-bat, it was just I figured he was probably going to start me out with a cutter and I made a good swing on it and was fortunate enough to get him and hit it out of the park."

It was only the second postseason homer by a reliever in baseball history and the first since Rosy Ryan in the 1924 World Series.

"I don't think he's ever gonna let us live this one down," Dexter Fowler joked. "This guy is taking BP all the time. We know he can hit, but he jumped on that first one and got him. He was as pumped as anybody."

Wood's solo shot also stretched the Cubs' lead to 5-2, which they did not relinquish.

The Cubs got the scoring going early when Ben Zobrist lined a two-out single to right field in the bottom of the first, plating Fowler who had led off the inning with a double.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

In the second, Hendricks helped himself with a two-run single before Kris Bryant tacked on another with an RBI single to right field.

All four runs were charged to former Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija, who lasted just the two innings.

The Giants pushed across two runs in the third when Joe Panik and pinch-hitter Gregor Blanco started the inning off with back-to-back doubles. Blanco came around to score on Brandon Belt's sacrifice fly, but that was all the offense the Giants could muster.

Wood recorded four outs, with the only baserunner reaching on an error by Bryant.

Carl Edwards Jr. and Mike Montgomery did their part before Hector Rondon shut the door in the eighth and Aroldis Chapman picked up his second save in as many games.

In total, the Cubs bullpen accounted for 5.1 shutout innings, allowing only two hits.

The Cubs committed three errors in the game, lost their starting pitcher to injury, watched as Javy Baez was called out at second base after pimping what he thought was a home run and yet still came out on the winning end.

The Cubs have also received just as many RBI from their pitchers (3) as position players in this series, a point of bragging rights in the clubhouse.

"That's fine. We'll catch back up," Fowler said."

The Cubs are now one win from advancing to the NLCS. 

Game 3 will take place in San Francisco Monday night with Jake Arrieta against Madison Bumgarner.

Cubs option David Bote to Triple-A Iowa


Cubs option David Bote to Triple-A Iowa

David Bote signed a 5-year contract with the Cubs at the beginning of the year, but he is headed to Triple-A Iowa.

Bote joins Ian Happ, Addison Russell and Albert Almora Jr. as notable Cubs position players to be sent to Iowa.

Bote's production isn't as bad as the other three. In fact, Bote has respectable numbers at the plate.

In 310 plate appearances this season the 26-year-old is hitting .257/.352/.429. His OPS+ is 100, meaning he has been exactly league average.

The corresponding roster move was not yet announced, but it is expected that reliever Steve Cishek will be activated ahead of Tuesday's game against the San Francisco Giants.

Mark Zagunis was also sent back to Iowa after serving as the 26th man for Sunday's Little League Classic.


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Cubs Talk Podcast: Appreciating Jose Quintana


Cubs Talk Podcast: Appreciating Jose Quintana

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Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Cubs Talk Podcast