CUBS ONE VIC­TORY AWAY FROM END­ING DROUGHT

Ker­shaw stands in way of Chicago’s bid to re­turn to se­ries for first time since ’45

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By An­drew Selig­man AP Sports Writer

All that’s left for the Chicago Cubs to do is make his­tory.

The Cubs came home to Wrigley Field with a 3-2 lead over the Los An­ge­les Dodgers in the NL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries and a chance Satur­day night to end a more than seven-decade wait to re­turn to the World Se­ries.

“We’re not go­ing to run away from any­thing,” man­ager Joe Mad­don said. “It’s within our reach right now. But I do want us to go af­ter it as though it’s, again, hate to say it, but Satur­day. Let’s just go play our Satur­day game and see how it falls.”

For a fran­chise de­fined more by heart­break and los­ing, this will be no or­di­nary Satur­day. Then again, this has been no or­di­nary sea­son.

The Cubs led the ma­jors with 103 wins and ran away with the NL Cen­tral ti­tle. They won more games than any Cubs team since 1910, and if they beat Clay­ton Ker­shaw/a and the Dodgers, they’ll face Cleve­land in their first World Se­ries since 1945.

That, of course, will put them on the verge of their first cham­pi­onship since 1908.

But be­fore they can think about

that, they have to get to the World Se­ries, and their first op­por­tu­nity comes against one of the game’s most dom­i­nant pitch­ers in Ker­shaw. The Cubs will go with ma­jor league ERA leader Kyle Hen­dricks in Game 6.

Game 7 would be on Sun­day, if nec­es­sary.

“We’ve won two games in a row be­fore,” said Los An­ge­les’ Adrian Gon­za­lez. “Noth­ing says we can’t do it Satur­day and Sun­day.”

The Cubs put them­selves in this po­si­tion by shak­ing off back-to-back shutout losses and com­bin­ing to score 18 runs in the past two games.

Jon Lester threw seven solid in­nings, Ad­di­son Rus­sell con­tin­ued his resur­gence at the plate with a tiebreak­ing home run and the Cubs beat the Dodgers 8-4 on Thurs­day night.

Rus­sell has gone deep in back-to-back games and is 5 for 10 af­ter go­ing 1 for 24 to start the post­sea­son. An­thony Rizzo is also con­nect­ing, with five hits and a homer over the past two games af­ter go­ing 2 for 26. Javier Baez con­tin­ues to come through with big hits and mak­ing sen­sa­tional plays at sec­ond base.

Now, it’s up to Ker­shaw to cool off the Cubs.

The three-time NL Cy Young Award win­ner is 2-0 with a 3.72 ERA in three starts and one re­lief ap­pear­ance this post­sea­son and has been eras­ing a rep­u­ta­tion for strug­gling in the play­offs.

He came through with two de­cent starts against Wash­ing­ton in the NLDS and closed out the se­ri­esclinch­ing win.

He was noth­ing short of spec­tac­u­lar against Chicago in Game 2, pitch­ing two-hit ball over seven in­nings be­fore Ken­ley Jansen closed out a 1-0 vic­tory.

JAE C. HONG — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Cubs fans cel­e­brate in Dodger Sta­dium af­ter the team’s 8-4 win in Game 5 of the Na­tional League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries in Los An­ge­les on Thurs­day night.

MARK J. TER­RILL — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Cubs’ Javier Baez hits a two-run scor­ing dou­ble dur­ing the eighth in­ning of Game 5.

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