CHICAGO -- Kyle Hendricks knew it was going to be tough facing Clayton Kershaw. So did his teammates."You don't expect a lot of runs to happen, you don't expect them to give you anything, and you're going to have to earn every bit," Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward said. "Tonight we
CHICAGO -- Kyle Hendricks knew it was going to be tough facing Clayton Kershaw. So did his teammates.
"You don't expect a lot of runs to happen, you don't expect them to give you anything, and you're going to have to earn every bit," Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward said. "Tonight we hit some balls hard and hit some balls to the track and they didn't fall, and they hit one over the fence and that was it, 1-0."
Kershaw and Kenley Jansen combined on a two-hitter as the Dodgers evened the National League Championship Series at one win apiece with a 1-0 victory Sunday night at Wrigley Field. The only run in the game was a homer to lead off the second inning by Adrián González off Hendricks, who was making his second postseason start.
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Gonzalez said he wanted to be aggressive in his at-bat.
"I saw that the first time through the order in the first inning, he attacked us with fastballs early, trying to establish the fastball, knowing that he was going to go to his changeup later in the game," Gonzalez said. "I just wanted to get a fastball and try to elevate it. Thank God I was able to hit it in the air. I felt pretty good about it once I hit it, but I still ran knowing it could have easily not gone over the wall."
The Dodgers started eight left-handed batters Sunday, including switch-hitter Yasmani Grandal, and Hendricks held them to three hits over 5 1/3 innings.
"With that guy going on the other side, that's what you have to expect, going into a game like that," Hendricks said of the close contest. "I wasn't sharp really and my fastball command wasn't great. I battled through it. I didn't get deep in the game like I wanted to."
Sunday was significant in that it was the first playoff game between two starting pitchers with regular season ERAs below 2.25 since the Cardinals' Bob Gibson and the Tigers' Denny McLain met in the 1968 World Series. Hendricks, who led the Major Leagues in ERA at 2.13, enjoyed watching Kershaw at work. This was the first time the Cubs had faced the Dodgers' lefty in the regular season.
"It's probably one of the best outings he's had all year," Hendricks said. "Pitch-wise, he didn't miss any spots. And the only one he missed was to Javy [Baez], and he hit that to the biggest part of the park. What are you going to do? When you get away with the one or couple of mistakes you do make, and then you're hitting all your spots, it's tough to do anything against them."
Baez launched a fly ball to center to end the seventh inning, and was the last batter Kershaw faced. Jansen got the final six outs for the save.
Hendricks walked four batters, matching his single-season high this year. That was very unlike Hendricks.
"I thought maybe he was trying to be too fine," Cubs catcher Miguel Montero said. "It's his second full year in the big leagues. It's something he has to learn. I understand you want to make perfect pitches, but instead of making perfect pitches, just make a good pitch. He was trying to work the edges so much, he fell behind and he walked a couple guys, which he never does. It's not that he was nervous -- he was trying to be too perfect, too fine. It's something he'll learn from. It's something I'll mention to him."
Hendricks did get a lesson watching Kershaw pitch.
"He was impressive," Hendricks said. "Watching a lot of it from inside, he wasn't missing any spots, mixing his pitches well, keeping us off balance -- that's the kind of game I was trying to pitch. It was fun to go against him and a tough one to lose."
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.