Cubs dominate Dodgers relief en route to big win


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Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell led the charge for the Cubs, accruing a combined seven RBI. (Photo Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)
Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell led the charge for the Cubs, accruing a combined seven RBI. (Photo Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)

LOS ANGELES — With a refreshing turn of the events for the Chicago Cubs in the finale of their difficult eight-game road trip, the North Siders benefited from a big inning at the expense of an opposing team to secure the series split against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Scoring seven runs in the seventh inning, the Cubs overcame a 3-1 deficit to win 11-5 in the concluding contest of the four-game set at Dodger Stadium.

Racking up 15 hits, the Cubs put together a solid all-around offensive showing to defeat Los Angeles after struggling to manufacture runs early on against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, whose appearance marked his 300th career start. Pitching for just the second time after a lengthy injury layoff, Kershaw was understandably limited to five innings of work, in which he struck out six and gave up just one run. His departure paid substantial dividends for the Cubs, who scored a total of 10 runs against Dodgers relief pitchers.

The opposite situation played out for the Cubs, as starting pitcher Jose Quintana faltered off and on throughout his 5.1-inning stint on the hill. Giving up three runs on seven hits, Quintana was pulled in favor of Steve Cishek, who pitched 1.2 scoreless innings to keep the Dodgers at bay after the Cubs first took the lead. Cishek picked up the win for his efforts to move to 2-0.

Los Angeles went up 1-0 in the second inning on a two-out single from Enrique Hernandez that scored Austin Barnes. In the next inning, Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy, who was the X-factor for the Dodgers all series long, smacked a solo shot to left to give his club a 2-0 lead. Chicago got that run back with one of shortstop Addison Russell's four RBI on the afternoon, as he scored Javier Baez on a two-out single to center in the top of the fourth. However, in the bottom half of the inning, Hernandez garnered another two-out RBI that scored Barnes with a double to deep right-center.

Fresh off the disabled list, Dodgers reliever Walker Buehler probably wishes that he had the day off on Thursday, as he was taken for five runs on five hits and one walk to pick up the loss and fall to 4-2. Relieving Kershaw to start the sixth, Buehler gave up a home run on just his second pitch, as Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr., skied his fourth homer of the season on a shot to left.


Later in the inning, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who went 4-5 with three RBI in one of his best offensive performances of the year, hit a one-out double to right to put runners on the corners. The next at-bat saw the Cubs catch a break, as first-base umpire Angel Hernandez missed a fairly obvious call on a checked swing, in which Russell clearly went around on what should have been strike three. Instead, Hernandez's call that he did not go around led to Russell hitting a sacrifice fly to center that scored Willson Contreras with ease to tie the game at 3-3.

The Cubs took control of the game in the seventh frame, as they pounded out seven runs on six hits and one walk. Chicago put five men on before the first out was recorded. Ian Happ led off with a double, and, after a walk of Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward scored Happ with a double into the gap between right and center. Buehler was then pulled and replaced by Erik Goeddel, who fared no better on the mound.

Goeddel was charged with four runs in one inning of work. His first hit allowed was not his fault, though, as Muncy lost a high pop-up hit by Almora, Jr., in the sun, allowing it to fall for an infield single that scored Schwarber from third. Baez then laid down a perfect bunt that he converted into a single to load the bases. Two at-bats later, Rizzo increased his season RBI total to 53 with a bases-clearing double to right-center. The Cubs went up 10-3 soon afterward, as Russell jacked his fourth home run of the year on a bomb to left.


For good measure, Baez, who went 3-5 at the dish, scored Heyward with a two-out single in the eighth to give Chicago an eight-run advantage. Cubs reliever Luke Farrell struggled in the ninth, giving up a two-run homer to Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner. Nevertheless, the Cubs won comfortably, as current Cubs closer and former Dodgers set-up man Brandon Morrow replaced Farrell and recorded the final out in his first appearance following a recent stint on the disabled list.

The 11-5 victory over the Dodgers (43-37) wrapped up a roller-coaster ride of an eight-game road trip for the Cubs (44-35), in which they went 2-6. Chicago, which is now 11-0 this season when scoring 10 or more runs, will look to continue its return to top form in an upcoming eight-game home stand.

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