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Cubs stun Giants with late four-run rally to advance


(The Sports Xchange) – Javier Baez capped a four-run rally in the top of the ninth inning with a run-scoring single that lifted the Chicago Cubs to a 6-5 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday and a 3-1 National League Division Series win.

The Chicago uprising against five San Francisco relievers denied the Giants an 11th consecutive win in an elimination game, which would have extended their own record.

With Matt Moore limiting the Cubs to two hits over eight innings and Conor Gillaspie contributing four singles to an 11-hit attack, the Giants were three outs away from forcing a fifth and deciding game when they took a 5-2 lead into the ninth.

The Cubs had other ideas, however, and the uprising began when Kris Bryant grounded a leadoff single off right-hander Derek Law.

Lefty Javier Lopez came on for one batter and walked Anthony Rizzo, bringing the potential tying run to the plate and producing closer Sergio Romo from the bullpen.

Ben Zobrist greeted Romo with a double into the right field corner, scoring Bryant and putting the tying runs in scoring position with still no outs.

Lefty Will Smith was summoned to face pinch hitter Chris Coghlan, who was pulled in favor of a right-handed hitter, Willson Contreras. The catcher grounded a two-run, game-tying single up the middle.

Jason Heyward was then called upon to sacrifice, and he bunted back to the mound. Smith got the lead runner at second, but Brandon Crawford threw wildly to first base, allowing Heyward to reach second.

The error was Crawford’s second of the game.

Baez then singled up the middle against the Giants’ fifth pitcher of the inning, Hunter Strickland, to score Heyward with the eventual game-winner.

Aroldis Chapman, who blew a save for the Cubs in Monday’s 13-inning loss, struck out the side in the ninth to record his third save of the series, sending the Cubs into the next round.

Hector Rondon (1-0), who worked a scoreless eighth inning, got the win. Smith (0-1) was credited with the loss, even though the run off him was unearned.

The Cubs move on to their second consecutive NL Championship Series, beginning on Saturday at Wrigley Field. They will face either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Washington Nationals, who are currently tied at 2-2, in the best-of-seven series.

The win for the Cubs was just their fourth in nine potential close-out games in their postseason history.

(Editing by John O’Brien)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/sportsNews/~3/LAhs3iG36s0/us-baseball-playoffs-chc-sf-idUSKCN12C0CJ