LOS ANGELES -- Even at age 90, Tom Lasorda knows a historic home run when he sees one. The Hall of Fame manager said Justin Turner's walk-off three-run homer that gave the Dodgers a 4-1 win over the Cubs on Sunday night at Dodger Stadium and a two-games-to-none lead in
LOS ANGELES -- Even at age 90, Tom Lasorda knows a historic home run when he sees one. The Hall of Fame manager said Justin Turner's walk-off three-run homer that gave the Dodgers a 4-1 win over the Cubs on Sunday night at Dodger Stadium and a two-games-to-none lead in the National League Championship Series reminded him of the one Kirk Gibson hit into immortality in Game 1 of the World Series 29 years ago to the day.
"The difference is that one helped us win the World Series," said Lasorda of the only other walk-off blast in Dodgers postseason history. "This one could put us in it."
The NLCS presented by Camping World shifts to Wrigley Field after Turner's dramatic blast off a 1-0 John Lackey fastball with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. Since the LCS expanded to best-of-seven in 1985, only three of the 28 teams that lost the first two games were able to come back to win the series.
"Yeah, I've told this story I don't know how many times since I've been a Dodger," said Turner, who also had an RBI single to drive in all the Dodgers' runs. "One of my earliest baseball memories was being at my grandma's house and watching that game and watching Gibby hit that homer."
• Turner joins Gibson in Dodgers' walk-off lore
Turner hadn't yet turned 4 at the time.
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Los Angeles now heads to Chicago needing two wins to secure the franchise's first NL pennant since 1988, when Gibson's Game 1 home run off Dennis Eckersley fueled the Dodgers' five-game World Series win over the A's. NLCS Game 3 will take place Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. The Cubs took two of three from the Dodgers at Wrigley from April 10-13.
"What did you say? 29 years to the day?" said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "It was special. Our guys feel it. We feel it."
"That was a great game," said Cubs manager Joe Maddon. "I thought our defense was outstanding. We played great defense all over the field. Really entertaining game. They got us in the end. That just happens sometimes."
Cubs reliever Brian Duensing walked Yasiel Puig on four pitches to lead off the ninth, and Puig was bunted to second by Charlie Culberson. Rookie James Farmer, pinch-hitting, struck out. Lackey relieved and walked Chris Taylor before facing Turner, who has nine RBIs in five postseason games this month.
"I'm not saying [Turner is] David Ortiz, but I played with David, and you're talking about big spots and coming up big," said Roberts. "And J.T.'s that guy for us. Yeah, he just has that pulse where he can just kind of keep his calm and stay within the strike zone. Also just not afraid to fail and just wants to be in that spot. But even that at-bat before, Chris Taylor, that at-bat to grind Lackey and keep the line moving, that was huge as well."
The Dodgers' bullpen that pitched 3 2/3 perfect innings in Game 1 added three hitless innings in Game 2, with closer Kenley Jansen pitching around a hit batter in a scoreless top of the ninth for the victory. Until Jansen hit Anthony Rizzo with a pitch with one out in the ninth, the bullpen had retired 22 consecutive batters, the longest streak by any team's bullpen to begin any postseason series in history, according to Elias.
"They're just executing pitches and they're ready when called upon and they're competing," said Roberts. "It's a close-knit group down there. Josh Bard, our bullpen coach, has done a fantastic job with those guys, along with [pitching coach] Rick Honeycutt. And just the preparation. Those guys know exactly what they want to do, and they're going out there and executing."
Addison Russell homered off Rich Hill into the left-field box seats on a 1-2 fastball leading off the top of the fifth inning, his fourth career postseason homer and Cubs-best 19th career postseason RBI. Russell had six RBIs in Game 6 of last year's World Series and four RBIs in Thursday's Game 5 clincher of the NL Division Series presented by T-Mobile.
The Dodgers tied it in the bottom of the inning off Jonathan Lester on a leadoff double by Culberson (injured shortstop Corey Seager's replacement) and a two-out RBI single by Turner, who was 1-for-21 in his career against Lester before the at-bat.
Hill was lifted for a pinch-hitter after five innings and 80 pitches. Lester, working on short rest for the first time in his postseason career and third time ever, burned through 103 pitches in 4 2/3 innings.
How big is this loss to the Cubs' chances to repeat as World Series champs?
"It's a loss," Maddon said. "The biggest? I mean, you could always come back to the ninth inning and point out the guy hit a home run. But we have got to do better than one run. We've just got to do better than that. Offensively, we've kind of been stifled.
"We're pretty fortunate to be in this position right now based on the number of runs we've scored over the last week," he said. "We have to do a better job at the plate. We have to get the starter more deeply into the game to really permit the way you want to use your bullpen."
Said Chicago's Jason Heyward: "Let's go to Chicago and see what happens."
• DYK? Facts and figures about Game 2
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Take your walks: Puig led off the winning rally with a four-pitch walk and Taylor, who slugged a tie-breaking homer in Game 1, preceded Turner's blast with a walk on a 3-2 pitch.
"If the situation calls for it, and you're at home in a tie game, it makes sense to give up a run given who is behind the bunter," said Roberts. "But we did a lot of things to execute tonight. It starts with the at-bat quality, and when we needed it, sacrifice or get a guy over, we did that. When we needed to take a walk, we did that."
Duensing survives scare: Brought in to get lefties Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson in the bottom of the eighth, lefty Duensing got Bellinger to ground to first, but Duensing dropped Rizzo's flip. Pederson bunted Bellinger to second and John Forsythe was walked intentionally to set up the double play, which Duensing delivered by getting Austin Barnes to ground into a 6-4-3 DP.
"We'll come back. We'll be back in Chicago. I know our fans will be there and they'll be loud and before you know it, the series will be tied." -- Cubs reliever C.J. Edwards
"I got three walks. I would have got four walks but my tongue wasn't working when I licked the bat." -- Puig, who had three walks and a strikeout
Cubs: The series shifts to Wrigley Field tonight and Kyle Hendricks will get the start. He's 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA in two postseason starts so far. In Game 1 of the NL Division Series, Hendricks gave up two hits over seven scoreless innings. He's 2-1 with a 3.15 ERA in three career starts against the Dodgers.
Dodgers:Yu Darvish gets the start in Game 3. Darvish turned in five strong innings vs. the D-backs in NLDS Game 3, allowing one run on two hits, walking none and striking out seven. He's faced the Cubs once, allowing two runs over 4 1/3 innings on July 16, 2016, while a member of the Rangers.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.