Cubs come up short in series finale against Dodgers

by - Senior Writer -
Cubs hurler Jose Quintana earned a no-decision for his 5-inning start. (Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)
Cubs hurler Jose Quintana earned a no-decision for his 5-inning start. (Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

LOS ANGELES — In game three of their 4-game set at Dodger Stadium versus the Los Angeles Dodgers (48-24) the Chicago Cubs (39-32) scored two runs in the ninth inning off closer Kenley Jansen, with the blown save resulting in a win for the Cubs. Chicago had a chance to accomplish that feat yet again in Sunday's series finale, but a great diving catch of a Javier Baez liner in center field prevented the Cubs from repeating their late-game heroics and kept Jansen from blowing his second straight save opportunity. Instead, the Dodgers overcame a 2-1 deficit and edged the Cubs out by a final score of 3-2.

The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the first frame, due in large part to command issues suffered by Cubs starting pitcher Jose Quintana. After quickly drawing two outs, Quintana gave up a single and then walked three batters in a row, with the third one forcing in a run. The Dodgers held that 1-0 lead for several innings, thanks to the dominance of Cy Young frontrunner Hyun-jin Ryu on the mound. The Cubs were able to get to Ryu in the sixth by scoring a couple of runs with two outs, which is something that has rarely happened against Ryu this season.

A throwing error by Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner incited the 2-run inning for the Cubs, as Baez motored down the line and reached first base safely when Turner's throw pulled the first baseman off the bag. Kris Bryant followed that up a with bloop single that enabled Baez to reach third base. Baez riskily jolted toward second base before it was evident that Bryant's blooper would fall in a for a hit, and the baserunning bravery paid off, as "Javy" made it all the way to third. Soon afterward, Willson Contreras poked a single through the infield and into right to plate Baez, and David Bote then hit a sacrifice fly to right that ushered Bryant home and gave the Cubs the lead.

Thereafter, Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger wasted no time in erasing his team's deficit. With his father, former big-leaguer Clay Bellinger, in attendance, Bellinger showed out for his proud papa on Father's Day by smacking a leadoff home run to start the bottom of the sixth. Bellinger's 23rd dinger of the season sailed 421 feet out to center. Quintana found himself in a jam not long after that and was pulled from the game. Despite having runners on second and third with no outs, the Dodgers failed to push another run across in the inning, as Cubs relievers Brandon Kintzler and Tim Collins escaped the sticky situation.

The Cubs were unable to get out of the eighth inning unscathed, however, with a leadoff walk issued by Steve Cishek leading to the Dodgers going up 3-2. Speedster Chris Taylor earned the base on balls to start the bottom half of the eighth. Taylor proceeded to take second base on a groundout and was next able to score from second on a routine single hit to left field by Russell Martin. Playing in left for the Cubs was Bryant, a third baseman by trade, whose throw home was a bit off the mark, thereby enabling Taylor to slide in safely at home just before being tagged out by Contreras.

Jansen found himself in a precarious situation early on in his appearance. Albert Almora Jr. tallied a base knock to kick off the ninth inning, and Jason Heyward was walked after that. Following a groundout that advanced both runners, the Cubs had men on second and third with one out, needing to score at least one run to extend the contest. While a risky send to the plate worked out for the Dodgers in the eighth, it did not work out for the Cubs in the ninth. Almora attempted to score on a dribbler that Jansen fielded near the mound, and it culminated in Martin tagging a sliding Almora out at the dish.

Baez became the North Siders' last hope, and, following a steal of second base, the Cubs sported runners on second and third once again, meaning that a 2-out hit by Baez could easily put the Cubs in front. A line drive to center nearly did just that, but Dodgers center fielder Alex Verdugo laid out for an impressive diving grab to end the Cubs' scoring threat and secure the 3-2 win for the Dodgers. By virtue of the loss, the Cubs dropped three of four to the Dodgers, marking their fourth straight series defeat on the road.

Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers
Jun 16, 2019 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chicago (39-32) 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 9 0
Los Angeles (48-24) 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 - 3 7 1
W: Ross Stripling (3-2) L: Steve Cishek (1-4) S: Kenley Jansen (21)

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