Chicago Cubs win duel, Jays and In­di­ans up 2-0

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Javier Baez blasted an eighth in­ning solo home run as the Chicago Cubs won a pitch­ing duel over the San Fran­cisco Giants with a 1-0 vic­tory at Wrigley Field on Fri­day.

The solo shot by Baez came off Giants starter Johnny Cueto and broke open a score­less con­test, al­low­ing Cubs starter Jon Lester to take the vic­tory in game one of the Ma­jor League Base­ball play­off se­ries. “This guy was writ­ten off as a hit­ter,” Lester said of Baez. “But at times this year he has car­ried us on both of­fence and de­fence.

“Tonight with a big swing he got us on top 10.” In the other Na­tional League play­off con­test, Corey Sea­ger and Justin

Turner hit home runs as the Los An­ge­les Dodgers beat the Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als 4-3 in their se­ries opener. In Amer­i­can League games Fri­day, Cleve­land and Toronto moved to within one vic­tory of ad­vanc­ing to the next round as the In­di­ans routed the Boston Red Sox 6-0 and the Blue Jays beat the Texas Rangers 5-3.

The Cubs com­piled the best reg­u­lar sea­son record in the ma­jor leagues (103-58) in their quest for their first World Se­ries ti­tle in more than a cen­tury.

Cubs closer Aroldis Chap­man al­lowed a twoout dou­ble to Buster Posey in the ninth, but got Hunter Pence to ground out to sec­ond base­man Baez to seal the win and earn a save.

The vic­tory gave Chicago a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five Na­tional League Divi­sion Se­ries which re­sumed yes­ter­day.

Cubs start­ing pitch­ers topped the ma­jor leagues this sea­son with 81 vic­to­ries and a 2.94 ERA. Fri­day was no dif­fer­ent as left-han­der Lester gave up five hits, struck out five and walked none in a pre­ci­sion 86-pitch out­ing.

“It was awe­some play­off base­ball. I am ob­vi­ously re­ally happy to be on the win­ning side,” Lester said.

Lester de­parted for pinch hit­ter Tommy La Stella with two out in the eighth. Cueto, who took the loss, oth­er­wise had a solid three-hit per­for­mance. He struck out 10 while walk­ing none. The Giants, who de­feated the New York Mets in the wild card game to reach the NL Divi­sion Se­ries, are try­ing to stretch their run of even-year play­off magic, after win­ning World Se­ries ti­tles in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

DARVISH GIVES UP 4 HOMERS

In Ar­ling­ton, Texas, the Blue Jays hit four home runs off Texas pitcher Yu Darvish and seized a com­mand­ing lead in their best-of-five se­ries. They will try to close things out at home on Sun­day. Troy Tu­low­itzki, Kevin Pil­lar, Eze­quiel Car­rera and Ed­win En­car­na­cion all home­red for Toronto off Ja­panese ace Darvish.

Short­stop Tu­low­itzki set the tone when he smacked a two-run blast in the sec­ond in­ning to put Toronto up 2-0. The Rangers trimmed the deficit to 2-1 in the fourth.

But Toronto cen­tre fielder Pil­lar opened the fifth with a solo homer to left. Car­rera fol­lowed with a homer and En­car­na­cion ended the burst with an­other solo homer in the fifth that made it 5-1. Texas scored twice in the eighth, one run com­ing when Car­los Gomez lined a sin­gle that hit Jays pitcher Fran­cisco Liri­ano in the back of the neck. He de­parted the game, but was able to walk off un­der his own steam and was treated in hospi­tal be­fore be­ing re­leased.

In Wash­ing­ton, Sea­ger hit a solo homer in the first and Turner had a two-run shot in the third­both off Max Scherzer-as Los An­ge­les de­feated the Na­tion­als.

Dodgers starter Clay­ton Ker­shaw was also hit hard as he al­lowed three runs and eight hits with seven strike­outs on 101 pitches over five in­nings.— AFP

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