1 and done: Cubs walk off in 10th for 1-0 win
CHICAGO -- On Monday, the Cubs beat Clayton Kershaw, and on Tuesday, they outlasted Zack Greinke, posting a 1-0 win in 10 innings over the Dodgers.
Chris Denorfia smacked a walk-off sacrifice fly with one out in the 10th to lift the Cubs to their fourth straight win, improving to 8-3 in extra-inning games. It was Chicago's ninth walk-off win this season, most in the Major Leagues.
"That's got to give you some kind of confidence that you can do it against the best," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the back-to-back wins against the Dodgers' best pitchers. "You have to pitch better than good pitching, and we did it two nights in a row. That's the key to the whole thing. We pitched so well and played defense so well and were able to muster enough runs to win both games."
Mike Baxter singled to lead off the Chicago 10th against Joel Peralta, and advanced on Matt Szczur's infield single that third baseman Alberto Callaspo knocked down. Pinch-hitter Dexter Fowler, who came out of Monday's game because of a left ankle sprain, drew a walk to load the bases, and was lifted for pinch-runner Travis Wood. Kenley Jansen took over for Peralta, and got Addison Russell to hit a grounder to Adrian Gonzalez at first. Gonzalez threw home for the force.
The Dodgers brought left fielder Andre Ethier in to play second for a five-man infield, and Denorfia lofted the ball to center for his fourth career walk-off RBI. It was the Cubs' Major League-leading 30th one-run game, and they now are 18-12 in those games.
"I was looking for a punchout from Kenley," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "We got the first out we needed, Denorfia is a ground-ball guy, so we went with the five-man infield."
The Dodgers had a chance in the ninth when they had two on and two outs, but Pedro Strop got Ethier to ground into a force at second to end the inning.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
No support: Dodgers starter Greinke scattered three hits over six scoreless innings, striking out five, and remained winless since May 5. His ERA dropped to 1.70 for the season. It was the right-hander's 14th quality start, most in the Major Leagues.
"I didn't make a lot of mistakes," said Greinke. "I made one to Kris Bryant on a 3-2 slider, but got away with it and he popped it up." More >
Hammer time: Chicago starter Jason Hammel retired the first six batters he faced, then served up a double to Callaspo to open the third. The Cubs right-hander retired the next 11 in a row before Yasiel Puig dropped a ball into the gap in right-center field with two outs in the sixth that was ruled a triple. Hammel, who did not get a decision, struck out six and walked two over 7 2/3 innings.
"He was really good from the very first moment of the game," Maddon said of Hammel. More >
Can't cash in: The Cubs tried to give the Dodgers a run with two outs in the top of the sixth inning, when center fielder Szczur and right fielder Baxter both lost Puig's popup that landed untouched in shallow right field. A hustling Puig reached third base with a gift triple, but Joc Pederson popped out on the first pitch to end the inning.
Glovework: Russell may still be learning second base, but the Cubs' rookie infielder showed his athletic ability in the fourth when he robbed Pederson of a potential hit with a perfectly timed leaping grab. Chris Coghlan snared Puig's fly ball in shallow left-center on the run to end the eighth and strand two, and avoid a collision with three teammates, on the play.
In the Chicago second, the Dodgers challenged whether a fan had interfered with first baseman Gonzalez's attempt to catch a foul ball hit by Hammel. The man grabbed the ball smoothly while holding his 7-month-old son Isaac -- who was bottle-feeding. After a review, Hammel was called out because of fan interference. More >
"That was outstanding," Maddon said of the fan's catch. "You worry about the baby, of course, but it looked like he had it under control. It looked like he did it before, almost. That was a great play."
"You're looking at a team coming together, and that has been together. There are no individuals in this locker room. We all know what we're playing for." -- Denorfia
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Cubs now are 39-30, nine games over .500 for the first time since Aug. 4, 2009 (57-48). Chicago pitchers have given up three runs over the last 39 innings for a 0.69 ERA.
Dodgers: Wednesday starter Mike Bolsinger's first Major League victory came last year in the Friendly Confines, when he allowed one unearned run in 6 2/3 innings pitching for Arizona. But he is coming off his worst start of the year, allowing five runs in 5 1/3 innings to the Giants. Wednesday's first pitch is at 5:05 p.m. PT.
Cubs: Kyle Hendricks will start Wednesday, still looking for his first win at Wrigley Field. The right-hander has posted a 3.45 ERA at home but has yet to get that "W." First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.
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