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Chicago Cubs explode in eighth inning to take 3-2 series lead


(The Sports Xchange) – Addison Russell homered for the second night in a row, and Javier Baez added three RBIs as the Chicago Cubs blew past the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 in Game Five of the National League Championship Series on Thursday.

Cubs starter Jon Lester (1-0) struck out six, walked one and allowed a run on five hits in seven innings at Dodger Stadium as the Cubs grabbed a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Chicago can clinch a trip to its first World Series since 1945 with a win in Game Six on Saturday at Wrigley Field.

Russell, who was 2-for-5 with two runs, cranked a tiebreaking, two-run homer off reliever Joe Blanton (0-2) with one out in the fifth to break up a 1-1 tie. Blanton surrendered two runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings.

Baez’s bases-clearing double highlighted a five-run eighth as the Cubs pulled away. Baez went 3-for-5, while Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Dexter Fowler had two hits and an RBI apiece.

After being blanked in Games Two and Three, the Cubs outscored the Dodgers 18-6 in Games Four and Five.

Dodgers rookie Kenta Maeda pitched 3 2/3 innings and allowed a run on three hits with six strikeouts and two walks.

Los Angeles shortstop Corey Seager went 2-for-3. Catcher Carlos Ruiz was 1-for-4 and drove in a run in the eighth, while Josh Reddick and Andrew Toles had RBIs in the ninth.

Fowler led off the game with a single and scored on Rizzo’s RBI double to give Chicago a 1-0 lead.

Los Angeles’ Howie Kendrick hit a two-bagger with one out in the fourth. After stealing third, Kendrick scored on a groundout by Adrian Gonzalez to tie the score.

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner singled in the third to reach base for a club-record 15th consecutive postseason game, dating back to last season. Turner broke Carl Furillo’s mark set in 1953-56, when the Dodgers played in Brooklyn.

(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/sportsNews/~3/d30wukIu78I/us-baseball-playoffs-chc-lad-idUSKCN12L0DA