Cubs reach first World Se­ries since 1945

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By An­drew Selig­man

Cursed by a Billy Goat, be­dev­iled by Bart­man and crushed by decades of dis­ap­point­ment, the Chicago Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Se­ries.

Cursed by a Billy Goat, be­dev­iled by Bart­man and crushed by decades of dis­ap­point­ment, the Chicago Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Se­ries.

Kyle Hen­dricks out­pitched Clay­ton Ker­shaw, An­thony Rizzo and Will­son Con­tr­eras home­red early and the Cubs won their first pen­nant since 1945, beat­ing the Los An­ge­les Dodgers 5-0 Satur­day night in Game 6 of the NL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries.

The drought ended when closer Aroldis Chap­man got Yasiel Puig to ground into a dou­ble play, set­ting off a wild cel­e­bra­tion at Wrigley Field.

Seek­ing their first ti­tle since 1908, man­ager Joe Maddon’s team opens the World Se­ries at Cleve­land on Tues­day night. The In­di­ans haven’t won it all since 1948.

“This city de­serves it so much,” Rizzo said. “We got four more big ones to go, but we’re go­ing to en­joy this. We’re go­ing to the World Se­ries. I can’t even be­lieve that.”

All-ev­ery­thing Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the NLCS MVP. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made sev­eral sharp plays at sec­ond base. Lester, a for­mer World Se­ries cham­pion in Boston, was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.

Deemed World Se­ries fa­vorites since open­ing day, the Cubs topped the ma­jors with 103 wins to win the NL Cen­tral, then beat the Giants and Dodgers in the play­offs.

The Cubs took their 17th pen­nant. They had not earned a World Se­ries trip since win­ning a dou­ble­header opener 4-3 at Pitts­burgh on Sept. 29, 1945, to clinch the pen­nant on the next-to-last day of the sea­son.

The eter­nal “wait till next year” is over. No more dwelling on a his­tory of fail­ure — the fu­ture is now.

“We’re too young. We don’t care about it,” star slug­ger Kris Bryant said. “We don’t look into it. This is a new team, this is a com­pletely dif­fer­ent time of our lives. We’re en­joy­ing it and our work’s just get­ting started.”

Hen­dricks pitched twohit ball for 7 1/3 in­nings. Chap­man got the fi­nal five outs, then threw both arms in the air and got mobbed by team­mates and coaches.

The crowd joined in, chant­ing and ser­e­nad­ing their team — a Cubs team, in fact, that lost 101 games as re­cently as 2012.

“Chicago!” shouted pop­u­lar backup catcher David Ross.

The Cubs shook off backto-back shutout losses ear­lier in this se­ries by pound­ing the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the fi­nal three games.

And they were in no way over­whelmed by the mo­ment on Satur­day, putting aside pre­vi­ous frus­tra­tion.

In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse sup­pos­edly be­gan when a tav­ern owner wasn’t al­lowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the fi­nal three games of the NLCS to Florida, punc­tu­ated with a Game 6 de­feat when fan Steve Bart­man de­flected a foul ball. This time, no such ill luck. Bryant had an RBI sin­gle and scored in a two-run first. Dex­ter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one.

Con­tr­eras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo con­tin­ued his resur­gence with a solo drive in the fifth.

That was plenty for Hen­dricks, the ma­jor league ERA leader.

Hen­dricks left to a stand­ing ova­tion af­ter Josh Red­dick sin­gled with one out in the eighth. The only other hit Hen­dricks al­lowed was a sin­gle by An­drew Toles on the game’s first pitch.

Ker­shaw, dom­i­nant in Game 2 shutout, gave up five runs and seven hits be­fore be­ing lifted for a pinch hit­ter in the sixth. He fell to 4-7 life­time in the post­sea­son.

Pitch­ing on five days’ rest, the three-time NL Cy Young Award win­ner threw 30 pitches in the first. Fowler led off with a dou­ble, and Bryant’s sin­gle had the crowd shak­ing the 102-yearold ball­park.

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