Cubs poised to play for pen­nant

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

PITCH­ERS Kyle Hen­dricks and Travis Wood pro­duced on the mound and at the plate on Oc­to­ber 8 to pro­pel the Chicago Cubs to a 5-2 vic­tory over the San Fran­cisco Giants and a com­mand­ing lead in their Ma­jor League Base­ball play­off se­ries.

The Cubs, in search of their first World Se­ries win in more than a cen­tury, lead the best-of-five Na­tional League Divi­sion Se­ries 2-0 and will try to book their spot in the NL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries in game three in San Fran­cisco to­day.

Wood, who took over on the mound after starter Hen­dricks was hit on the fore­arm by a line drive off the bat of An­gel Pa­gan in the fourth in­ning, earned the vic­tory – and also be­came the first re­lief pitcher since 1924 to belt a home run in the post-sea­son.

In all the Cubs used six pitch­ers. Aroldis Chap­man re­tired three straight Giants in the ninth, strik­ing out two for his sec­ond save in as many games.

“Ob­vi­ously the bullpen to­day was un­be­liev­able,” said Hen­dricks. “They won that game.”

Be­fore de­part­ing, Hen­dricks de­liv­ered a two-run sin­gle to spark the Cubs’ three-run sec­ond in­ning.

Ja­son Hey­ward belted a lead­off dou­ble in the sec­ond. Javier Baez walked and Will­son Con­tr­eras lined a base hit to right to load the bases with none out.

Hen­dricks, a .138 hit­ter dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, sin­gled to shal­low cen­tre to score Hey­ward and Baez.

Con­tr­eras reached third on Dex­ter Fowler’s sac­ri­fice and came home on Kris Bryant’s base hit.

That made it 4-0 for the Cubs, who had put one run on the board in the first in­ning after Fowler dou­bled and scored on Ben Zo­brist’s two-out sin­gle.

San Fran­cisco re­sponded with two runs in the third, pulling strug­gling start­ing pitcher Jeff Sa­mardz­ija early for a pinch hit­ter.

Hen­dricks’ out­ing ended with two out in the fourth. After he was struck, he threw sev­eral warm-up pitches be­fore it was de­cided he should seek treat­ment on his pitch­ing arm.

“When it first hit me I didn’t re­ally feel it,” he said. “Once I started throw­ing a lit­tle more off the mound it just was tight­en­ing up on me.

“X-rays were neg­a­tive though, so hope­fully it’s just a day-to-day thing.”

He was re­placed by Wood, who in the bot­tom of the in­ning belted his 10th ca­reer home run to make it a 5-2 lead.

It was his first homer in post-sea­son play – and just the sec­ond ever by a re­lief pitcher in the play­offs, after that of the New York Giants’ Rosy Ryan in game three of the 1924 World Se­ries.

“[The homer] was a spe­cial mo­ment for me,” said Wood, who also struck out two and didn’t al­low a hit in his one-and-one-third in­nings. “But just to be able to pull off the win was huge.”

Wood, a for­mer starter who switched to re­lief roles, has been re­lied on by Cubs man­ager Joe Mad­don, with 77 ap­pear­ances in the reg­u­lar sea­son.

“He’s been out­stand­ing,” Mad­don said. “When he goes out there to play even in the tight­est sit­u­a­tion, he’s very com­fort­able with it.

“He takes his bat­ting prac­tice, he looks for those op­por­tu­ni­ties and then he seized it to­day.”

The win­ners of the se­ries will face ei­ther the Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als or the Los An­ge­les Dodgers for a World Se­ries berth. –

Photo: AFP

Travis Wood takes a cur­tain call after belt­ing a solo home run in the fourth in­ning of the Chicago Cubs’ Oc­to­ber 8 vic­tory over the San Fran­cisco Giants, played in Chicago’s iconic Wrigley Field.

Photo: EPA

Brandt Snedeker, who cel­e­brated his un­beaten Ry­der Cup fin­ish over Team Europe one week ago, was cel­e­brat­ing again yes­ter­day after win­ning the Fiji In­ter­na­tional by a stun­ning nine strokes.

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