Run for the Ring: NLDS Game 2
Cubs pitching did it all in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Giants. A strong bullpen and key hits from the hurlers helped propel the Cubs to a 5-2 win and give them a 2-0 series lead as the teams headed back to San Francisco.
Starter Kyle Hendricks helped his own cause at the plate, driving in Jason Heyward and Javy Báez on a bloop single, giving the Cubs a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Two batters later, Kris Bryant knocked home Willson Contreras to help make it a short night for Giants starter Jeff Samardzija. He was taken out after the second inning, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits and a walk.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Cubs, though. The Giants chipped away at the deficit in the third, with Gregor Blanco and Brandon Belt each driving in a run to make it a 4-2 game. Then, in the fourth inning, Ángel Pagán ripped a ball that hit off Hendricks’ forearm, ending his day as Travis Wood came in.
That’s when the Cubs’ bullpen flexed its muscle. Wood struck out Conor Gillaspie to end the inning. In the bottom half of the fourth inning, Wood hit a solo home run to left-center field that extended the Cubs’ lead.
Wood, Carl Edwards Jr., Mike Montgomery, Héctor Rondón and Aroldis Chapman closed out the win for Cubs in an impromptu bullpen game. The relief corps allowed just 2 hits and struck out 6 in 5.1 innings of relief work.
Here’s how the teams lined up that night at Wrigley Field:
Denard Span – CF
Brandon Belt – 1B
Buster Posey – C
Hunter Pence – RF
Brandon Crawford – SS
Ángel Pagán – LF
Conor Gillaspie – 3B
Joe Panik – 2B
Jeff Samardzija – P
Dexter Fowler – CF
Kris Bryant – 3B
Anthony Rizzo – 1B
Ben Zobrist – LF
Addison Russell – SS
Jason Heyward – RF
Javy Báez – 2B
Willson Contreras – C
Kyle Hendricks – P
Samardzija, the Cubs’ fifth round pick in 2006, had a solid first season in San Francisco after signing as a free agent from the White Sox, going 12-11 with a 3.81 ERA. It was the second postseason game of Samardzija’s career, after pitching an inning in the 2008 NLDS with the Cubs.
Outside of the 2-run third inning, Hendricks seemed comfortable in his brief stint before he was taken out by Pagán’s hit. Hendricks won the NL ERA title (2.13) and had 16-8 record in 2016. His 2 RBI matched his entire regular-season output that year.
The Cubs got the raucous Wrigley Field crowd of 42,392 rocking early. Zobrist showed off the playoff moxie he was brought in for, getting the Cubs on the board in the first inning with a single that plated Dexter Fowler.
Wood’s homer is the only playoff hit of his career, but the lefty had 9 regular season homers in his career through 2016.
Chapman picked up his second career postseason save, striking out 2 as he retired the side in order.
- The Cubs scored 17 runs in the NLDS and 6 of those were knocked in by pitchers – Hendricks (2), Wood (1) and then Jake Arrieta hit a 3-run homer off Madison Bumgarner in the Game 3 loss.