Chicago scram­bles back for bizarre Game 5 win

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - PAGE 2 - By Howard Fendrich Howard Fendrich is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

WASH­ING­TON — The Chicago Cubs win when­ever they need to, with what­ever it takes, even a seven-out save by Wade Davis to pre­serve a shrink­ing lead and a “did that re­ally hap­pen?” four-run in­ning against Wash­ing­ton’s Max Scherzer in a thriller of a Game 5.

That wild, bat-around fifth in­ning Thurs­day night for Chicago in­cluded Ad­di­son Russell’s go-ahead, two-run dou­ble, a bases-loaded hit by pitch, and a dis­puted dropped third strike fol­lowed by a throw­ing er­ror, help­ing the defending World Se­ries cham­pi­ons come back — and then hold on — to edge the Na­tion­als 9-8.

For the third year in a row, Chicago reached the Na­tional League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries. It will head to Los An­ge­les to face the Dodgers’ Clayton Ker­shaw in Game 1 of the NLCS on Satur­day night.

“Give the boys credit,” Cubs man­ager Joe Mad­don said. “That’s one of the most in­cred­i­ble vic­to­ries I’ve ever been part of.”

Russell drove in four runs and Davis, Chicago’s sev­enth pitcher, turned in his long­est ap­pear­ance since 2012. The Cubs trailed 4-1, then led 8-4 and 9-6, in a game that lasted more than 4½ hours and ended af­ter 12:30 a.m. Fri­day in Wash­ing­ton.

Catcher Will­son Con­tr­eras picked off Jose Lo­ba­ton at first base to quash a Wash­ing­ton threat in the eighth, and Davis fanned a swing­ing Bryce Harper for the fi­nal out.

“It was a se­ries of bad events,” Na­tion­als man­ager Dusty Baker said.

Homers by Daniel Mur­phy and Michael A. Tay­lor gave the Na­tion­als a 4-1 lead in the sec­ond against Cubs starter Kyle Hen­dricks. But Gon­za­lez gave back two of those runs.

It was 4-3 as two-time Cy Young Award win­ner Scherzer en­tered for the fifth. By the time Scherzer’s one in­ning was over, the Cubs had taken a 7-4 lead be­hind three hits and a se­ries of odd plays.

For Mad­don and the Cubs, this was their fourth con­sec­u­tive vic­tory in a win-or-bee­l­im­i­nated post­sea­son game. That in­cludes three straight to end the 2016 World Se­ries.

For the Na­tion­als, it was the fourth time in six sea­sons that the club won the NL East and im­me­di­ately lost its open­ing play­off se­ries and the third time in that span it bowed out with a Game 5 NLDS loss at home.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / As­so­ci­ated Press

Chicago catcher Will­son Con­tr­eras re­acts af­ter Wade Davis struck out Wash­ing­ton’s Bryce Harper (left) to end a game that took more than 4½ hours and was filled with odd plays.

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