Mets pounce on Cubs again to take commanding 3-0 lead in NLCS


Mets pounce on Cubs again to take commanding 3-0 lead in NLCS

The Cubs returned home to Chicago for Game 3 hoping things would finally bounce their way.

They're still waiting.

The Mets made all the right moves and outplayed the Cubs again to go up 3-0 in the NLCS with a 5-2 victory in front of 42,231 fans at Wrigley Field on Tuesday evening.

"Again, another close game," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "We have to score more runs. And they played exceptionally well."

[MORE: In playoffs, Jorge Soler shows why Cubs saw a building block]

Things looked to be bouncing the Cubs' way when Jorge Soler misplayed a ball in right field in the sixth inning, but it skipped into the ivy for a ground-rule double, keeping a run from scoring.

But the winning run had already come in the form of a dropped third strike when Yoenis Cespedes scored on Trevor Cahill's wild pitch on strike three with two outs in the sixth.

The Mets piled on in the seventh as the Cubs made several defensive miscues that led to two more New York runs, extending the Mets' lead to 5-2.

Is everything just coming up Mets right now?

"We felt that way the first two games," Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks said. "Things bounce your way when you play well, though."

The Cubs offense looked like it had a lot more life early of Jacob deGrom, collecting three hits in the first five batters of the game, including a Kyle Schwarber homer.

But the only hit over the next six innings was a Soler homer in the fourth. Dexter Fowler lined a one-out double down the right-field line in the eighth, but Schwarber popped out and Kris Bryant flew out to end the threat.

"We actually hit some balls hard and got off to a better start," Hendricks said. "But deGrom, he's really good. He buckled down in those later innings, made some really, really good pitches.

"Sometimes there's nothing you can do when a guy's just dotting it up like that."

[NBC SHOP: Buy Cubs playoff gear

The Mets' young pitching got to the Cubs again as deGrom allowed only four hits and a walk while striking out seven in seven innings.

"It's tough," Miguel Montero said. "We can't get anything going. If we get a little rally going - a hit here, a hit there - maybe it's a different story. But we haven't created any type of momentum."

The Cubs have not led at any point in this series, scoring five runs in three games. In 27 innings, the Cubs offense has managed to get the leadoff batter on just twice (both in Game 1).

"They pitched well. There is no other way to slice it, cut it, describe it," Maddon said. "They have pitched well."

Kyle Hendricks lasted just four innings for the Cubs, serving up solo runs in the first and third innings.

Daniel Murphy had another big game for the Mets with a homer, single and two runs scored.

The Cubs know their backs are against the wall.

"Gotta go home and try to forget what happened today," Montero said. "It was a tough one. We gotta come back tomorrow.

"We're out of options. The only option we have is win tomorrow."

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 26th + 27th homers in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 26th + 27th homers in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Another day in June 1998, another multi-homer game for Sammy Sosa.

Slammin' Sammy connected twice off Carlton Loewer in the same game, a solo shot in the first inning and a 2-run shot int he fifth inning. Both were measured at 380 feet.

Still, the Cubs wound up losing the game 9-8 to the Phillies despite Sosa's effort and a total of 3 runs in the bottom of the eighth and ninth innings combined.

Fun fact: A big part of why the Cubs lost this game was Jose Hernandez's defense. He committed 3 errors at third base and shortstop that led to a pair of unearned runs.

A messy night at Wrigley Field ends without a pitch being thrown

A messy night at Wrigley Field ends without a pitch being thrown

The NLCS rematch will have to wait another day.

Mother Nature and the power at Wrigley Field care not for your excitement about a "big series" between the Cubs and Dodgers.

Thunderstorms rolled over the North Side of Chicago, where the Dodgers ended the Cubs' postseason run 8 months ago. 

On top of that, the power at Wrigley Field was not cooperating with the lights down the right field line going out for hours during the rain delay. 

The lights came back on at one point before again going out again roughly a half hour before Monday night's game was officially called. After a delay stretching almost three hours, word finally filtered out just before 10 p.m. the game would be postponed a day.

The Cubs and Dodgers will make the game up as part of a day-night doubleheader Tuesday at Wrigley Field with the first game starting at 12:05 p.m. and the second at the regularly scheduled time of 7:05 p.m. Tyler Chatwood will start the first game for the Cubs with Mike Montgomery slated to go Game 2.

As of 10 p.m. Monday night, the Cubs were unsure what caused the power issue at Wrigley Field but were working on fixing the problem ahead of Tuesday's scheduled doubleheader.

The evening started with the tarp being rolled onto the field by the Cubs grounds crew roughly an hour before scheduled first pitch with a forecast calling for a 100 percent chance of rain.

Only a light rain fell until a downpour began around 8:15 p.m.:

That lasted only about a half hour before the grounds crew came back out around 8:45 p.m. to partially remove the tarp and attempt to get the field ready to play.

The only issue at that point was the light and a sinister forecast.

"It takes 45 minutes to get the field ready to play," said Julian Green, Cubs director of communications. "So once you take that tarp off, you saw them putting the chalk lines down, getting ready.

"We wanted to be ready — even in the face of rain — if the lights came back on, we wanted to make sure we could play baseball, even if it was a limited window of opportunity."

As of 11 p.m., that second bout of rain had yet to materialize, but the lights issue also wasn't corrected and play on the field would've been impossible.

Fans lingered throughout the stadium for nearly three hours before an official conclusion came down. The Cubs kept the same announcement on the right field video board about the weather delay while the left field video board displayed the Brewers-Pirates and other MLB games.

This is the only trip to Chicago the Dodgers make throughout the 2018 season so the two teams and Major League Baseball did all they could to try to get a game in and avoid any issue where these two teams would have to play on a mutual off-day later in the year. 

The Cubs were in the midst of a stretch of 17 games in 17 days without a day off. They're still on that same schedule, though now with an unexpected day off Monday and a doubleheader Tuesday.

The Cubs are no stranger to postponements this season as wacky weather has continued to hamper this MLB season.

"Not only for the Chicago Cubs, but Chicago in general, this has been a really interesting spring and summer season," Green said. "We're taking our licks just like everybody else is.

"Our plan is to play baseball tomorrow and make sure we can accomodate fans as best as possible. So fans who have tickets to tonight's game will be able to use them for tomorrow."