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Cubs seize 2-0 divisional series lead over Giants


(The Sports Xchange) – The Chicago Cubs rocked Jeff Samardzija for four early runs on Saturday en route to a 5-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants and a 2-0 lead in their National League Division Series.

Chicago needs one more win to claim their second successive trip to the NL Championship Series and a meeting with the Los Angeles Dodgers or Washington Nationals.

Travis Wood, the second of six Cubs pitchers, earned the victory and belted a solo home run before an overflow crowd of 42,392 at Wrigley Field.

Aroldis Chapman worked a one-two-three ninth, striking out two, for his second save in two NLDS games.

Samardzija, who pitched for the Cubs between 2008-14, took the loss. He lasted two innings — the shortest outing of his career — before being pulled for a pinch hitter.

Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks delivered a two-run single to ignite the Cubs’ three-run second inning before departing in the fourth after taking an Angel Pagan line drive off his pitching arm.

Chicago’s Dexter Fowler fouled off three pitches before ripping a leadoff double to right in the first inning. He scored on Ben Zobrist’s two-out bloop single to right.

The Cubs hastened Samardzija’s departure as Jason Heyward belted a leadoff double, Javier Baez walked and Willson Contreras lined a base hit to right to load the bases with none out in the second.

Hendricks, a .138 hitter during the regular season, singled to shallow center to bring home Heyward and Baez for a 3-0 lead.

Contreras reached third on Fowler’s sacrifice and came home on Kris Bryant’s base hit to right.

The Giants replied with two runs in the third while pulling Samardzija early for a pinch hitter.

Joe Panik doubled to lead off and scored on pinch hitter Gregor Blanco’s two-base hit to center. Blanco later scored on Brandon Belt’s two-out sacrifice to center.

Samardzija allowed four runs, six hits, walked one and struck out one in two innings. Right-hander George Kontos entered in relief in the third.

Hendricks’ outing ended with two out in the fourth. He threw several warm-up pitches after being struck, but was deemed unable to continue and was replaced by Wood. Hendricks worked 3 2/3 innings and gave up two runs and four hits.

Wood launched a first-pitch home run with one out in the fourth inning — his first in postseason play — for a 5-2 Cubs lead.

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/sportsNews/~3/5wjnCPdnNA0/us-baseball-playoffs-sf-chc-idUSKCN129024