Chicago Cubs: GRAND SLAM: Montero becomes hero in NLCS win
|Saturday, October 15, 2016 11:51 PM- -|
CHICAGO -- Is Chicago a team of destiny? It's sure possible as the Cubs won game one of the National League Championship Series for the first time since 1984. The Cubs disposed of the Dodgers 8-4 behind Miguel Montero's grand slam heroics on Saturday night. It was Montero's first postseason home run in 60 plate appearances and he became the second player in Cubs postseason history with a pinch-hit go-ahead RBI, joining former Cubs player and ESPN analyst Doug Glanville.
It was also only the second grand slam by the Cubs in postseason besides Aramis Ramirez in 2003. Montero had a much-deserved curtain call by the fans at Wrigley Field.
"He threw a good slider...I mean, it was a good slider for me, not for him," Montero said during postgame interviews.
This is the fifth time the Cubs have been in the NLCS series with a previous record of 0-4 overall and the first time that the Cubs have been in the NLCS series in back-to-back years.
The Dodgers have not been to the World Series in 28 years while the Cubs have missed out for 71 straight years.
Third baseman Kris Bryant hit a line drive RBI double in the first inning to score Dexter Fowler to put the Cubs up 1-0.
In one of the rarest plays in baseball, Javier Baez stole home to put the Cubs up 3-0 in the third inning. Baez became the first Cubs player to steal home in the postseason since Jimmy Slagle in Game 4 of the 1907 World Series. He is also the 19th different player to steal home in a postseason game in history and the 6th player to do it in the wild card era.
Another incredible statistic for Baez is that he is the first player in Cubs history with two extra-base hits and a stolen base in a postseason game according to ESPN Stats.
The Dodgers got on the board in the fifth inning with a pinch-hit solo homer by Andre Ethier to put the Dodgers down only 3-1. It was a wind-aided home run because it was only had an exit velocity of 95.3 MPH but the average homer this season is 103.9 MPH according to ESPN Stats.
Lester went six strong innings on only 77 pitches giving up four hits, one run, a walk, and three strikeouts. He had never been pulled at 77 or fewer pitches in a start where's he's gone at least six inning allowing one earned run or fewer according to ESPN's Baseball Tonight. He extended his string of quality home starts to 17 with this performance. In the 2016 postseason, Lester has pitched 14 innings, giving up only nine hits, one run, one walk, and eight strikeouts.
Before tonight's game, Lester had a 0.60 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers this season. Lester also handled the bat well in his at-bats tonight as he was the first Cubs pitcher to draw two walks in a postseason game since Lefty Tyler in 1918 against Babe Ruth.
"When he came here, it signaled to the baseball world, the Cubs are here to win in a big way," Alex Rodriguez said during the pregame about Jon Lester.
Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman gave up a 2-run single with the bases loaded in the 8th inning to tie the game at 3-3. At one point during the inning, Chapman threw 17 consecutive fastballs.
The Cubs hit two homers in the eight inning, including an epic grand slam homer by Miguel Montero and then the next pitch was a solo shot by Dexter Fowler to turn the game into a 8-3 laugher. The Cubs have scored 12 of their 25 postseason runs in 8th and 9th innings.
Cubs setup man Hector Rondon came in the ninth inning to shut the door on the Dodgers.