Wrigley crowd sees team earn first trip to Clas­sic since 1945

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - By Mark Gon­za­les mgon­za­[email protected]­

Kyle Hen­dricks out­pitched Clay­ton Ker­shaw, 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. Seek­ing their first ti­tle since 1908, the Cubs open the World Se­ries at Cleve­land on Tues­day night. The In­di­ans haven’t won since 1948.

CHICAGO — Pitch­ing coach Chris Bo­sio leaned back into his chair when asked to as­sess man­ager Joe Mad­don’s style dur­ing a ses­sion at Cubs Con­ven­tion in Jan­uary.

“Joe tries to win ev­ery in­ning,” Bo­sio said in a con­vinc­ing man­ner.

Never was that mis­sion so ap­par­ent than Satur­day night when for­mer No. 5 starter Kyle Hen­dricks pitched 71⁄3 in­nings of twohit ball, and a re­lent­less of­fense knocked out three­time Cy Young Award win­ner Clay­ton Ker­shaw af­ter five in­nings to put an ex­cla­ma­tion point on a 5-0 vic­tory to seize the Na­tional League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries be­fore a deliri­ous Wrigley Field crowd of 42,386.

The Cubs outscored the Dodgers 23-6 in the final three games to win this best-of-seven se­ries 4-2 and claim their first league ti­tle since 1945.

The ul­ti­mate, yet sin­gu­lar mis­sion of the 2016 sea­son — to win the World Se­ries ti­tle — starts Tues­day night against the Amer­i­can League cham­pion In­di­ans at Pro­gres­sive Field.

The Cubs’ fun­da­men­tal blue­print was ex­e­cuted to near per­fec­tion from the start, as sec­ond-base wizard Javier Baez chased An­drew Toles out of the base line to start a dou­ble play in the top of the first, and slug­ger Kris Bryant poked a low, out­side pitch into right to score Dex­ter Fowler with the first of two firstin­ning runs.

The Cubs cap­i­tal­ized on an er­ror by Toles in left field to score their sec­ond run of the in­ning on a sac­ri­fice fly by Ben Zo­brist, mark­ing the first time Ker­shaw al­lowed two runs in the first in­ning this sea­son.

Un­like Game 2, when Ker­shaw needed only 32 pitches to get through three in­nings, the Cubs taxed Ker­shaw as Baez fouled off three two-strike pitches be­fore pop­ping to first as Ker­shaw needed 30 pitches to get out of the first.

Mean­while, Fowler’s two-out sin­gle scored resur­gent Ad­di­son Rus­sell in the sec­ond, and the Cubs added home runs by Will­son Con­tr­eras and An­thony Rizzo in the fourth and fifth.

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