Miguel Mon­tero’s grand slam pow­ers Cubs over Dodgers

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Miguel Mon­tero’s eighthin­ning grand slam pow­ered the Chicago Cubs to an 8-4 vic­tory over the Los An­ge­les Dodgers on Satur­day in game one of their Ma­jor League Base­ball play­off se­ries.

Mon­tero’s blast off Dodgers relief pitcher Joe Blan­ton-after the Dodgers had knot­ted the score at 3-3 with two runs in the top of the eighth-was just the third pinch-hit grand slam in post-sea­son his­tory and boosted the Cubs to a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Na­tional League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries. The win­ner of the se­ries ad­vances to the World Se­ries to face ei­ther the Cleve­land In­di­ans or Toronto Blue Jays. Cleve­land took a 2-0 lead in the Amer­i­can League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries on Satur­day with a 2-1 tri­umph over Toronto.

The Cubs, who had the best record in the ma­jor leagues this sea­son, are vy­ing to end the long­est ti­tle drought in North Amer­i­can sport, with their last World Se­ries tri­umph com­ing in 1908.

The Cubs were up 3-1 head­ing into the eighth, but Los An­ge­les loaded the bases with none out against Chicago relief pitch­ers Mike Mont­gomery and Pe­dro Strop.

The Cubs sent closer Aroldis Chap­man to the mound, and he struck out two be­fore giving up a two-out sin­gle to Adrian Gon­za­lez that scored An­drew Toles and Chase Ut­ley to tie the game.

Chicago’s Ben Zo­brist opened the bot­tom of the eighth with a dou­ble and Ja­son Hey­ward and pinch-hit­ter Chris Cogh­lan were in­ten­tion­ally walked by Blan­ton, set­ting the stage for Mon­tero to send an 0-2 pitch over the right field wall.

“This is what I’m play­ing for right now,” said Mon­tero, who had just 52 hits in the reg­u­lar sea­son and bat­ted .216. “I’m try­ing to take full ad­van­tage of the at-bats I get. “Sure enough, to­day, I helped the team.” Dex­ter Fowler fol­lowed with a solo home run. Although Chap­man blew the save, he earned the vic­tory. Cubs start­ing pitcher Jon Lester re­ceived a no-de­ci­sion after al­low­ing just one run in six in­nings. He re­tired 12 of the last 13 bat­ters he faced, sur­ren­der­ing four hits with one walk and three strike outs. The Cubs will try to stretch their se­ries lead when they host game two on Sun­day.

IN­DI­ANS CAU­TIOUSLY CON­FI­DENT

In Cleve­land, Car­los San­tana home­red and Fran­cisco Lin­dor drove in the win­ning run to spark the In­di­ans to a 2-1 vic­tory over the Blue Jays.

While the Cubs have en­dured the grand-daddy of US sport­ing ti­tle droughts, the In­di­ans have weath­ered their own epic stretch of fu­til­ity since last win­ning the World Se­ries in 1948. Since then the In­di­ans have lost the World Se­ries in 1954, 1995 and 1997.

“We’re con­fi­dent,” San­tana said after the In­di­ans’ sec­ond home win against the Blue Jays, but he added that Cleve­land would re­main vig­i­lant as the se­ries shifts to Toronto to­day. “We have to keep it up,” San­tana said. “Toronto has a very good team. They can come back.”

San­tana smashed a solo homer off Toronto starter J.A. Happ over the left­field wall in the sec­ond in­ning to open the scor­ing. The Blue Jays an­swered in the third as Dar­win Bar­ney sin­gled, ad­vanced to sec­ond on a ground out and scored on a Josh Don­ald­son dou­ble to pull Toronto level 1-1.

But the In­di­ans pushed home the win­ning run when they came to the plate in the third as Ra­jai Davis reached first base on a fielder’s choice, stole sec­ond, took third on a wild pitch by Happ and scored on a Lin­dor sin­gle to make it 2-1.

— AFP

CHICAGO: Miguel Mon­tero #47 of the Chicago Cubs hits a grand slam home run in the eighth in­ning against the Los An­ge­les Dodgers dur­ing game one of the Na­tional League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries at Wrigley Field on Satur­day in Chicago, Illi­nois.

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