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NLDS: Giants vs. Cubs

Cubs deliver Giant stunner, advance to NLCS

MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- After every game, the Cubs' mantra is "We never quit." They yell it together, like a college cheer, and repeat it, "We never quit!" On Tuesday night, that no-quit attitude carried the Cubs into the National League Championship Series for the second straight year, and they got there by toppling the team dubbed the "October giant."

After being shut down by Matt Moore for eight innings (he threw 120 pitches), the Cubs rallied against San Francisco's beleaguered bullpen for an historic four-run ninth inning and posted a 6-5 victory over the Giants to take the best-of-five series, 3-1. Next up will be Game 1 of the NLCS, set for Saturday at Wrigley Field against either the Nationals or Dodgers on FS1 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- After every game, the Cubs' mantra is "We never quit." They yell it together, like a college cheer, and repeat it, "We never quit!" On Tuesday night, that no-quit attitude carried the Cubs into the National League Championship Series for the second straight year, and they got there by toppling the team dubbed the "October giant."

After being shut down by Matt Moore for eight innings (he threw 120 pitches), the Cubs rallied against San Francisco's beleaguered bullpen for an historic four-run ninth inning and posted a 6-5 victory over the Giants to take the best-of-five series, 3-1. Next up will be Game 1 of the NLCS, set for Saturday at Wrigley Field against either the Nationals or Dodgers on FS1 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.

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Shop Cubs postseason gear

The Cubs finished with the best record in the Majors but that's not enough for their legion of fans, eager to end more than 100 years of frustration and win a World Series.

:: NLDS: Giants vs. Cubs coverage ::

"Any time you can survive like that against an October giant like that -- it's hard to finish any team in the postseason, let alone a team with that kind of character and pedigree," said Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, who was drenched in champagne after being soaked in the postgame celebration.

Heyward's hustle pays off

The Cubs' comeback was the biggest in postseason-series clinching history. In erasing a three-run deficit against five different relievers, Chicago matched the Mets' feat in the ninth inning of Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS, when New York rallied to tie the Astros with three in the ninth and went on to clinch the NL pennant with three runs in the 16th, holding off Houston in a 7-6 victory.

"I wasn't worried, it's just that we weren't ourselves for eight innings," Epstein said. "We weren't having the kind of at-bats we normally have and that wasn't us. ... I believe in our guys, but it just was not a great feeling that weren't playing our kind of ball.

Video: Must C Comeback: Contreras, Baez cap incredible rally

"Hitting before the ninth inning is overrated anyways," he added with a laugh. "It's about doing it when it matters, I guess."

The Giants can put the calendar away. They won the World Series in 2010, '12 and '14, but their attempt at a "Believen" season in '16 is over.

Video: CHC@SF: Chapman dials up 101+mph gas to K the side

"[Moore] did his job," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We were lined up. All our guys are setup guys … I would like to think you're going to get three outs there. We couldn't do it."

• Photos: Cubs celebrate NLDS victory

The comeback didn't surprise the Cubs players.

"We've had several games that feel like that during the season but when you do it in the postseason, it gives you a whole 'nother level of confidence late in the game," said Ben Zobrist, who delivered a key RBI double in the ninth. "Once [Kris Bryant] and [Anthony Rizzo] got on, you kind of felt like, something good is going to happen here. Really, the last two nights, that's what the Giants have done, they've put great at-bats together, rallies together. Tonight was our night."

Gif: Cubs dugout goes crazy

Trailing, 5-2, in the ninth, Bryant singled to lead off against the first of five Giants pitchers Bochy called on. Rizzo then walked, and Zobrist followed with his RBI hit. Chris Coghlan was on deck to pinch-hit, but the Giants countered with Will Smith, and the Cubs counter-punched with rookie Willson Contreras, who smacked a two-run single, then pounded his chest to celebrate. The score was now tied at 5.

Jason Heyward reached on a fielder's choice, and Javier Baez, the unofficial MVP of the series, delivered an RBI single for the game-winner. Aroldis Chapman picked up his third save in four games, and the party started.

Video: Cubs' Spanish broadcasters call NLDS win

"[We did it] in a really difficult environment against a team that hasn't lost a closeout game in a while," manager Joe Maddon said. "All that stuff matters. All that matters is that we continue to move forward and establish this identity as being a team that plays well in the postseason.

"Give our guys credit. They're young, and people don't understand, they're young and inexperienced, too. To be able to do what we've done is pretty special."

Video: CHC@SF Gm4: Maddon on atmosphere surrounding the Cubs

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Staying offensive:
The Giants could have gone into shutdown mode after Crawford's fifth-inning drive struck the concrete border that lines the top of the right-field wall. Instead, they padded their lead, adding two essential runs on Conor Gillaspie's RBI single and Joe Panik's sacrifice fly.

The play looked strange, with lead runner Hunter Pence scrambling to return to second base.

"I thought it was a homer, so I made sure I touched second base," Pence said. The Giants requested a replay review to certify whether Crawford's drive was a homer.

Video: CHC@SF: Crawford belts 388-foot double off wall

Grandpa Rossy: David Ross extended his retirement party another day. Making his second start of the series, the 39-year-old catcher led off the Cubs' third with a home run to tie the score at 1. It was his second career postseason homer, and he became the oldest player in Cubs history to homer in a postseason game. Moises Alou had that distinction when he homered in the 2003 NLCS at the age of 37. Ross also is the oldest catcher in the Majors to do so. The Angels' Bob Boone held the mark, connecting in the 1986 American League Championship Series at the age of 38. Ross added a sacrifice fly in the fifth. More >

The home run traveled a projected 358 feet, according to Statcast™.

"To come back from three down against a really good ballclub says a lot about the character of this group that I've known about all year ... It's an amazing group and it's fun for me to be a part of," Ross said on FS1.

Video: Must C Classic: 'Grandpa Rossy' achieves another feat

Glove work: If there was a Gold Glove awarded to players in the NLDS, the Cubs' Baez might win it. Baez, who began the season without a position and yet has started every game at second in the series, nearly threw out Denard Span to open the third. Span was called out, but the Giants challenged the ruling. And after a review, the call was overturned. Ross and Baez then combined to throw out Span trying to steal second, with Baez making his quick tag to get the speedy Giant.

Video: Baez says the Cubs are excited to keep going

Maddon proclaimed Baez the series MVP.

"Absolutely -- he should get the Corvette," Maddon said.

Video: CHC@SF Gm4: Ross nabs Span stealing, Baez makes tag

Crawford's rough night: Crawford, the NL's reigning Gold Glove shortstop, committed two uncharactersitic throwing errors. One generated a fifth-inning unearned run; the other enabled Heyward to advance to second base in the ninth, putting him in position to score on Baez's single.

"It kind of sucks," Crawford said. "That's not the way anybody wants to go out. … Especially with the lead in the ninth, it's kind of a punch in the gut. They scored three runs without getting an out."

Video: CHC@SF Gm4: Baez reaches third on errant throw in 5th

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Moore's fourth-inning single, which broke a 1-1 tie, was the first go-ahead hit by a Giants pitcher in the postseason since Hal Schumacher came through in Game 2 of the 1933 World Series against Washington's General Crowder. More >

Video: CHC@SF Gm4: Moore laces an RBI single to right field

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Span led off San Francisco's third inning with a grounder up the middle that looked as if it would be a base hit, though Cubs second baseman Baez made an outstanding play on the ball. Span was called out at first base, but the ruling was overturned after a replay review requested by the Giants.

San Francisco tried the replay route again in the fifth inning, after Crawford's one-out drive caromed off the top of the right-field wall. The Giants contended that it was a home run, but the ruling on the field that the ball was in play stood.

UP NEXT
Cubs: Jon Lester, who threw eight shutout innings in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Giants, will open the NL Championship Series on Saturday at Wrigley Field, with game time TBD. The Cubs will face either the Dodgers or Nationals, who play Game 5 of their NLDS on Thursday (8 p.m. ET/FS1).

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

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.

Moore does his job brilliantly in final game

Giants lefty allows two runs (one earned) in eight innings vs. Cubs
MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Dexter Fowler hopelessly froze in the batter's box and Giants catcher Buster Posey began jogging back to the dugout before the umpire called the third strike.

Fowler watched Matt Moore's cutter paint the outside edge of the strike zone for the final out of the eighth inning and it seemed to embody the type of night Cubs batters were enduring. They simply couldn't find an answer against Moore, who allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits through eight shutdown innings in the Giants' 6-5 Game 4 loss in the National League Division Series on Tuesday night.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Dexter Fowler hopelessly froze in the batter's box and Giants catcher Buster Posey began jogging back to the dugout before the umpire called the third strike.

Fowler watched Matt Moore's cutter paint the outside edge of the strike zone for the final out of the eighth inning and it seemed to embody the type of night Cubs batters were enduring. They simply couldn't find an answer against Moore, who allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits through eight shutdown innings in the Giants' 6-5 Game 4 loss in the National League Division Series on Tuesday night.

View Full Game Coverage

:: NLDS: Giants vs. Cubs coverage ::

In what the left-hander called the most important start of his career, Moore rarely flinched. He struck out 10 batters and grew more dominant as the game wore on, retiring the last nine hitters he faced. But Moore also watched as the Cubs' offense kicked into gear as soon as he exited, scoring four runs off five Giants relievers to clinch the NLDS.

Instead of heading back to Chicago for Game 5, Moore and the rest of the club were left wondering if he could have gone one inning longer.

"We can look now and say, hey, push him even more," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "But we had confidence that these guys that we put out there would get outs against that lineup, we could get the matchups that we wanted."

Video: CHC@SF Gm4: Bochy on taking Moore out before the 9th

Moore simply had done his job, according to Bochy. And that was clear.

Moore, who allowed one run in eight innings to the Dodgers in the final game of the season, continued to showcase why San Francisco acquired him before the non-waiver Trade Deadline. While David Ross crushed a solo home run in the third inning, Moore proved to be at his best facing the Cubs' most powerful hitters.

He limited Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist to one single while also recording four strikeouts against the trio.

"He got better as the game went along," said Posey. "Those are fun games when you have a pitcher in the situation he was in, especially with a new team. For him to go out and do what he did, it's pretty exciting."

Video: CHC@SF Gm4: Moore fans 10, drives in run in 6-5 win

Everything seemed to be going Moore's way. He hit an RBI single in the fourth inning to give the club a 2-1 lead and received a lucky break from his defense in the sixth.

After surrendering a leadoff walk to Fowler, Bryant manufactured a bloop into right. Hunter Pence got a bead on it, though, and fired to Brandon Crawford at second for a forceout.

"That was pretty ugly. I'm sure I made a lot of people in the dugout nervous, walking Dexter on four pitches," Moore said. "That was a heads-up play by Hunter and I think that gave me a little bit of momentum heading into the next hitter."

Video: CHC@SF Gm4: Pence nabs Fowler at second on force

That was evident. Moore followed Pence's play by striking out Rizzo, then forcing Zobrist to hit into a fielder's choice. Moore never allowed a Cubs player to reach base again and walked off the mound after throwing 120 pitches.

Moore contests he wasn't at his best Tuesday. But he knew he was sure close to it. He became the 10th Giants pitcher to record double-digit strikeouts in a postseason game and finished 2016 without allowing more than two runs in consecutive outings.

"I had no problem coming out there," said Moore. "I couldn't imagine being in this spot at the end of July. I'm just really grateful to have the Giants family pull me in."

Justin Wise is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

San Francisco Giants, Matt Moore

Game 4 rally takes magical season to new heights

MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Joined by the three Cubs relievers who had entered and exited behind him in Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday, John Lackey settled around a TV monitor in the far left corner of the AT&T Park visitors' clubhouse as the ninth inning was set to begin. If their offense started to stir, they weren't going to budge.

Out in the dugout, there was a rally cry, a reminder that this team had erased a ninth-inning deficit eight times during the regular season -- and once already in this series -- and so, why couldn't they again?

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Joined by the three Cubs relievers who had entered and exited behind him in Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday, John Lackey settled around a TV monitor in the far left corner of the AT&T Park visitors' clubhouse as the ninth inning was set to begin. If their offense started to stir, they weren't going to budge.

Out in the dugout, there was a rally cry, a reminder that this team had erased a ninth-inning deficit eight times during the regular season -- and once already in this series -- and so, why couldn't they again?

View Full Game Coverage

Dress for NLCS: Official Cubs postseason gear

:: NLDS: Giants vs. Cubs coverage ::

What followed was the most exhilarating comeback yet, as the Cubs pounced on a fracturing Giants 'pen to flip a three-run deficit into a 6-5 victory that sent them back to the NL Championship Series. Six consecutive hitters reached against five relievers in a span of 22 pitches to end the Giants' string of 10 consecutive elimination-game victories and move the Cubs one rung closer to that elusive World Series championship.

Game 1 of the NLCS is Saturday at Wrigley Field against either the Nationals or Dodgers on FS1 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.

"Once we got to the bullpen," bench coach Dave Martinez said, "we felt we had a chance to do something."

It took the Cubs nine innings to get there, as Giants starter Matt Moore dazzled while holding Chicago to two hits over eight innings. But with his pitch count at 120, Giants manager Bruce Bochy turned to a bullpen that had blown 31 saves this year and had no trusted closer.

Gif: Cubs dugout goes crazy

He'd summon four pitchers to face the Cubs' first four ninth-inning hitters, none of which would be retired. Kris Bryant foiled the shift to open the inning with a single off Derek Law. Anthony Rizzo, who hadn't reached base in the first three games of the series, did so for the third time Tuesday by drawing a walk off Javier Lopez.

Sergio Romo entered next and allowed an RBI double to Ben Zobrist that pulled Chicago to within two.

"We've lived by the home run a lot this year, but you really can't do that in the postseason," Zobrist said. "To get several base hits in a row, a walk in there, passing the baton -- that's huge confidence for our offense."

Shortstop Addison Russell was due up next, but manager Joe Maddon didn't like the matchup. He sent Chris Coghlan to the plate as a strategic play, believing that would prompt Bochy to pull Romo. It did. In came Will Smith, and out went Willson Contreras to pinch-hit instead of Coghlan.

"We had it all laid out before the inning began," Maddon said. "If this happened, this is what we're going to do."

Video: CHC@SF Gm4: Baez gives Cubs lead with single in 9th

The rookie Contreras delivered a two-run single, just the franchise's fourth game-tying postseason hit in the ninth inning or later. It sent the Cubs' dugout into bedlam, and forced those inside the clubhouse to stay just as they were.

"Baseball players, we're a little bit superstitious," Lackey quipped. "Once things started going pretty good, I wasn't moving from that spot."

Video: Nelson discusses Cubs' 9th-inning comeback to advance

They'd get even better. After a Brandon Crawford throwing error allowed Jason Heyward, who went home to first in 4.12 seconds (his fastest time in the Statcast™ era), to race to second on a foiled sacrifice attempt, Javier Baez capped his sensational series with an 0-2, RBI single off Hunter Strickland, the fifth Giants pitcher to take the mound in the inning.
 
• Statcast™ of the Day: Heyward's hustle pays off

"I don't have the words to describe it," Baez later said amid a raucous champagne celebration. "I was trying to hit the ball to right field, second base. When I swung at the first pitch, I thought he'd come back with the same pitch because he wanted me to hit a ground ball to the left side. I adjusted to hit it to the middle."

Suddenly, the Cubs had gone from facing the prospect of an elimination game on Thursday to stunning a Giants team that hadn't lost a postseason game in which it led after eight innings since 1911.

Video: CHC@SF Gm4: Contreras hits two-run single to tie it

"With the way the ball bounced that last inning, I hate to use the word destiny, but they have had a great year and that's quite a comeback they mounted there," Bochy said.

The Cubs joined the 1986 Mets as the second team to come back from a three-run deficit in the ninth inning to win a postseason-series-clinching game. And it was the first time in 106 years that the Cubs had won a postseason game when trailing after eight innings.

"All it takes is one pitch," Bryant said. "Guys had great at-bats, battling, taking walks. That's something we preach. One pitch at a time. That last inning was perfect."

Jenifer Langosch has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2007.

Chicago Cubs, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist

Bullpen woes not unfamiliar to Giants

MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants' reliever Javier Lopez succinctly expressed his despair over the Giants' 6-5 loss Tuesday night to the Cubs in Game 4, which ended the National League Division Series and their season.

Also on Lopez's mind was the end of the Giants' remarkable streak of 10 consecutive postseason victories in games when they faced possible elimination. Giants relievers, who struggled all season to establish consistency, took the end of the streak personally.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants' reliever Javier Lopez succinctly expressed his despair over the Giants' 6-5 loss Tuesday night to the Cubs in Game 4, which ended the National League Division Series and their season.

Also on Lopez's mind was the end of the Giants' remarkable streak of 10 consecutive postseason victories in games when they faced possible elimination. Giants relievers, who struggled all season to establish consistency, took the end of the streak personally.

View Full Game Coverage

:: NLDS: Giants vs. Cubs coverage ::

"I'm one of those who didn't execute tonight," Lopez said. "It's going to be tough to lay my head on the pillow."

Rookie right-hander Derek Law, who yielded Kris Bryant's single, which began Chicago's ninth-inning uprising, believed that the Giants' ability to stave off elimination would remain intact, even after the Cubs surged past them.

"Even when they scored, I thought we were still in it," Law said.

Right-hander Sergio Romo believed that if any team could end the Giants' magic, it would be the Cubs, who posted a Major League-best 103-58 record this season.

"I can't say that it's necessarily surprising," Romo said. "Those guys are solid. You can't take anything away from them. Obviously, they showed that they will never give up, either, at the end. I think we're just more in shock that it happened, how it happened, the way it happened. A tough way to end a very trying season."

San Francisco's bullpen, a trouble spot through much of the season, thus endured its final indignity after blowing 30 regular-season saves, more than any postseason qualifier since the save became an official statistic in 1969. That total included nine blown saves in which the Giants led entering the ninth inning, as well as nine blown saves in September.

So it was almost fitting that the Giants squandered saves in each of the final two games against the Cubs. Despite San Francisco's 6-5, 13-inning triumph in Monday's Game 3, Romo lost a save opportunity when he yielded Bryant's ninth-inning homer. On Tuesday, Will Smith, who had recorded 13 2/3 scoreless innings in a span of 18 appearances entering the game, absorbed both the loss and the blown save.

Law was asked what he thought when the ninth inning began, a frame that followed eight innings and 120 pitches of terrific, two-hit baseball by starter Matt Moore.

"I figured we were going to Wrigley Field," Law said, confident that the Giants would secure the three outs they needed to force Game 5.

Said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, "You like to think we're going to get three outs there."

Romo's thought: "Get the job done," he said. Pondering the Cubs' comeback, which prevented that from happening, he added, "This game's incredible, man. This game is definitely incredible."

Nobody criticized manager Bruce Bochy's strategy of using a different reliever for each Cubs hitter, tailoring his pitchers' skills to suit the opponent. Lacking a legitimate closer prompted Bochy to resort to this ploy.

"He pulls the cords," Romo said. "We believe in his approach. Today it just didn't work out."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants

Cubs glad to advance after hard-fought NLDS

Ninth-inning rally puts Chicago 4 wins away from World Series
MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Nothing against the Giants, but the Cubs were getting tired of them.

The last thing they wanted was to see them again at Wrigley Field.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Nothing against the Giants, but the Cubs were getting tired of them.

The last thing they wanted was to see them again at Wrigley Field.

View Full Game Coverage

"It seems like we have been playing these guys for the last two weeks, just with travel and how intense these games are and stuff," Jon Lester said on Tuesday.

Postseason gear

So rather than deal with the stress of a deciding Game 5, the Cubs cobbled together one of the most dramatic ninth-inning rallies in franchise history, wrapping up the National League Division Series with a 6-5 win over the Giants at AT&T Park.

:: NLDS: Giants vs. Cubs coverage ::

When the ninth inning began, with the Giants holding a 5-2 lead and Cubs hitters having gone 5-for-56 since the early stages of Game 3, not even the optimistic Joe Maddon was sensing any magic in the night air. Not against a team that had won 10 straight elimination games.

What was Maddon thinking when the Cubs came to bat in the ninth?

"Johnny Cueto at Wrigley Field," the skipper said, referring to the Giants' probable starter. "And I was telling the folks in there, if you ever looked at those numbers, they're not good for us. He's really tough on us. ... He knows what he's doing out there, and he gives us problems. So I'm happy to not having to face him in a winner-take-all game. That was it. I'm being very honest."

In typical fashion for a team as deep and balanced as any in the Major Leagues, six players (Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Willson Contreras, Jason Heyward and Javier Baez) contributed to a four-run ninth inning that sent the Cubs to the NL Championship Series (Game 1 Saturday on FS1, 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT) for the second year in a row.

Safe to say Maddon's outlook had changed entirely after Contreras' pinch-hit single off Will Smith tied the score, Brandon Crawford committed his second throwing error of the game and Baez's go-ahead single off Hunter Strickland.

Video: Baez says the Cubs are excited to keep going

"I think as a group, obviously, it's two years in a row now that we're getting to this particular level," Maddon said after surviving champagne showers in his custom-made No. 70 wetsuit. "I think it validates on a lot of different levels the job that we have done to this point. I think if you're a player on this particular team within the organization, it's getting to the point now you want to expect to get to the postseason and you want to expect to get deeply into the postseason."

The Cubs don't know if they'll play the Nationals or Dodgers, with that NLDS set for Game 5 on Thursday (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on FS1), but they do know they're four wins away from capturing their first pennant since 1945 and eight away from their first championship since 1908. They've got more experience and confidence than last October, when they were swept by the Mets, and the stars seemed to be aligned for this to be their time.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy made the right call by pulling starter Matt Moore after the eighth inning. Moore had thrown 120 pitches, and Bochy wasn't asking much from his bullpen.

Video: CHC@SF Gm4: Bochy discusses the team's blown saves

"I would like to think you're going to get three outs there," Bochy said. "We couldn't do it."

Since falling into a 2-0 hole against Dusty Baker's Reds in the 2012 NLDS, Bochy's teams had always gotten outs with their backs to the wall in October.

But there was trouble in the air when Bryant opened the ninth inning with a hard grounder off rookie Derek Law. The Giants had three of their infielders playing on the left side, but none of them could get to the ball.

"Bryant beat the shift," Bochy said. "He hit the ball right where the shortstop normally is, and of course the ground ball up the middle, that's a bad break."

The second reference was to Contreras' two-run single, which Smith let go past him in the hope an infielder would play it. Instead, it went all the way to Denard Span in center field. By then, a lot of people, Bochy included, were wondering if this might be the Cubs' year.

"Yeah, you do," Bochy said. "With the way the ball bounced that last inning, I hate to use the word destiny, but they have had a great year and that's quite a comeback they mounted there."

Video: CHC@SF Gm4: Bochy on Cubs after hard-fought series

How big of a comeback? Cubs starter John Lackey has the most postseason experience of any active pitcher, and he'd have to check his scrapbook to know if he's seen anything to match it.

"I'm still trying to process what happened in the ninth there," said Lackey, who gave up three runs in four innings before Maddon took him out for a pinch-hitter. "That was unbelievable the way the guys grinded out at-bats and got that done. You see a lot of things in the playoffs, but that might be at the top of the list."

Maddon's best-in-baseball starting rotation is set to roll for the NLCS -- unlike whichever opponent the Cubs will face. The Dodgers probably can't pitch Clayton Kershaw until Game 2, the Nationals Max Scherzer until Game 3. The Cubs have home-field advantage at a ballpark that can be as noisy as it is iconic and they just beat a team that had won the World Series three times in the previous six seasons.

Chicago is loaded in every department, probably more than it appeared in this series. The Giants kept the Cubs in check throughout a four-game NLDS that featured three one-run games.

Video: CHC@SF: Lester on Cubs' character after reaching NLCS

They threw a lot at the Cubs -- the greatness of Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey, excellent work from Cueto and Moore, clutch hitting from Conor Gillaspie and Joe Panik -- and all it got them was one win.

Even that victory came after Bryant hit a ninth-inning home run to tie Game 3.

"We don't quit," Maddon said. "That's really what it comes down to. You hear that all the time, everybody says it, but you have to actually live it. And I have to tell you, I've seen it so many times from this group. That's a big part of our philosophy. And I like to keep things simple, and that's simple. ... We just play 27 outs."

Bring on the Nationals -- or the Dodgers. The Cubs don't care. They believe they're the best team in baseball, and they're ready to prove it.

Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com.

Chicago Cubs

Statcast of the Day: Heyward's hustle pays off

His fastest home-to-first time of Statcast era helps set up NLDS-clinching run
MLB.com

Jason Heyward's first season with the Cubs has not gone smoothly in terms of production at the plate. But in Tuesday night's Game 4 of the National League Division Series, Heyward's legs helped him create the series-clinching run -- as shown by Statcast™ -- as the Cubs rallied to beat the Giants, 6-5.

By the time Heyward stepped in against the Giants' Will Smith in the top of the ninth inning, his team already had scored three runs to jump into a 5-5 tie. With Willson Contreras on first and no outs, Heyward squared around on the first pitch and tried to lay down what would have been only his third career sacrifice bunt.

Jason Heyward's first season with the Cubs has not gone smoothly in terms of production at the plate. But in Tuesday night's Game 4 of the National League Division Series, Heyward's legs helped him create the series-clinching run -- as shown by Statcast™ -- as the Cubs rallied to beat the Giants, 6-5.

By the time Heyward stepped in against the Giants' Will Smith in the top of the ninth inning, his team already had scored three runs to jump into a 5-5 tie. With Willson Contreras on first and no outs, Heyward squared around on the first pitch and tried to lay down what would have been only his third career sacrifice bunt.

:: NLDS: Giants vs. Cubs coverage ::

Unfortunately for the Cubs, Heyward's inexperience showed, as his bunt (measured at 33 mph off the bat) skipped right back to Smith. But with that part of the play now out of his control, Heyward did the only thing he could -- run hard. Coming out of the left-handed batter's box, he charged down the line in 4.12 seconds, a new personal best for the Statcast™ era, by a margin of 0.05 seconds.

"Until the last out is made, you owe it to the game and the guys next to you to keep going and keep pushing," Heyward said of his team's comback.

It was an effort that paid off in a big way for the NL Central-champion Cubs, who now head back to the NL Championship Series for the second straight year, starting Saturday on FS1 (8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT) against either the Dodgers or Nationals at Wrigley Field.

Shop Cubs postseason gear

The play started smoothly for the Giants defense. Despite the trouble pitchers sometimes face in throwing to bases, Smith fielded the bunt cleanly and fired an accurate, chest-high throw to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who was covering second.

Video: CHC@SF Gm4: Zobrist on Cubs' comeback to reach NLCS

With Contreras taking a minimal secondary lead of 10.3 feet and going from first to second in 3.7 seconds, he was in no position to break up the play or even put pressure on Crawford, who had a clear throwing lane after the forceout.

Still, with Heyward hustling down the line, time was of the essence for Crawford. He has one of the game's strongest arms, ranking fifth among shortstops by averaging 86.8 mph this year on competitive throws, but Heyward's speed forced him to rush, and he made the glove-to-release exchange in just 0.467 seconds, much faster than his average of 0.646 seconds on successful 1-6-3 double plays this season.

After that rushed exchange, Crawford's throw sailed well up the line and past first baseman Brandon Belt. While Heyward, whose speed topped out at 20.2 mph according to Statcast™, almost certainly would have beaten even an accurate throw, Crawford's wild heave allowed Heyward to advance to second. It was the second throwing error of the game for Crawford, a 2015 NL Gold Glove Award winner whose fifth-inning miscue set up a Cubs run.

This one had the same effect, as Javier Baez followed with a single off Hunter Strickland, and Heyward carried home the go-ahead run. Aroldis Chapman closed the door on the game and the series in the bottom of the frame.

"With the way the ball bounced that last inning, I hate to use the word destiny, but they have had a great year, and that's quite a comeback they mounted there," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "They got a break there on the throwing error that set up the winning run."

Minus the bad throw, Heyward, representing the go-ahead run, would have been on first instead of second with one out. Baez (RBI single) and David Ross (inning-ending double play) batted next, and it's impossible to know exactly how their at-bats would've played out in that scenario.

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.

Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Brandon Crawford, Jason Heyward

Cubs kick party up a notch after advancing

Maddon dons wetsuit as club celebrates return trip to NLCS
MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- After each win this year, the Cubs celebrated. They danced and shouted and splashed each other with water 103 times during the regular season and two more times at Wrigley Field last weekend. But Tuesday night's party was different.

The Cubs moved on to the National League Championship Series for the second year in a row -- the first time they've ever gone in back-to-back seasons -- by beating the Giants, 6-5, at AT&T Park. Then they retreated to the visitors' clubhouse, where the wild celebration surpassed any of their previous 105 victory parties. How?

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SAN FRANCISCO -- After each win this year, the Cubs celebrated. They danced and shouted and splashed each other with water 103 times during the regular season and two more times at Wrigley Field last weekend. But Tuesday night's party was different.

The Cubs moved on to the National League Championship Series for the second year in a row -- the first time they've ever gone in back-to-back seasons -- by beating the Giants, 6-5, at AT&T Park. Then they retreated to the visitors' clubhouse, where the wild celebration surpassed any of their previous 105 victory parties. How?

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"We got this and this," Jon Lester said, raising a Champagne bottle in his right hand and a beer bottle in his left. "The other ones, we got water."

:: NLDS: Giants vs. Cubs coverage ::

A victory in the NL Division Series was expected of the Cubs. They marched into the postseason as baseball's best team, no longer a surprising contender as they were a year ago. Even against an even-year Giants club, a defeat this early would have been disappointing -- and a return to Wrigley Field on Thursday would have been nerve-wracking.

The Cubs wanted to finish it Tuesday night, so they rallied in the ninth for four runs against five Giants relievers and watched Aroldis Chapman close it out. Then, for the 106th time this season, the celebration was on.

"It feels like this is what this team does. It's just going to be extended," Ben Zobrist said. "It's usually for like 10 minutes. Now it's going to be an hour, two hours, into tonight on the plane. That's a fun thing."

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As the Cubs went down in order in the eighth inning, manager Joe Maddon's mind wandered toward a potential Game 5 showdown between Lester and Johnny Cueto. He wanted no part of it, and his players could tell as much by his obvious relief after their dramatic comeback.

:: NLCS: Dodgers/Nationals vs. Cubs coverage ::

"I did not want to see him in the fifth game. I don't care where it was being played," Maddon said. "I'm happy to not having to face him in a winner-take-all game. That was it. I'm being very honest."

That relief turned into joy as the Cubs turned the clubhouse into a makeshift party room, spraying beer and champagne until it dripped from the low ceilings above their covered lockers.

Outside, at least 100 fans wearing Cubs blue converged around the visitors' dugout, cheering for players as they drifted back onto the field. Maddon took in the scene wearing a black wetsuit, something straight out of a surf shop.

"I've never been a surfer," Maddon said. "One of the downsides of celebrating is cold water is cold. Champagne is cold. I'm a baby with that. I wanted to take some precautionary matters this time. It's helped somewhat. You still get nailed a little bit, but it helps."

Theo Epstein, the architect of this team, walked around the room in a T-shirt, Cubs gym shorts and sandals, dishing out high-fives and hugs and getting beer after beer poured onto his head as music pumped through the clubhouse and the garbage can filled up with empty bottles.

Video: CHC@SF Gm4: Epstein on Cubs advancing to NLCS

Yes, this party was different.

"A little more enthusiasm," Kris Bryant said, smiling. "I feel like this is after every win. … This time it's champagne. We're all getting wet today."

By the end of the week, the Cubs will have refocused. They'll begin the NLCS against the Dodgers or Nationals on Saturday (8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on FS1), trying to push past the point where they plateaued last October. The pressure will only intensify, and the expectations will be no lower.

"We've got a lot to overcome in the postseason with the history of this franchise. It's a huge win," Zobrist said. "Going into the NLCS, we've got to prove we can do it in the NLCS. Last year, they didn't. This is a new group. We've got to get over that hump. That's the next goal, and we've got to find a way to do it."

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The Cubs have bigger goals, certainly, and their ultimate prize lies eight wins away. But that wouldn't stop them from enjoying what they finished Tuesday night.

"Even when we expect to win, we still enjoy each 'W'. Why wouldn't you?" Lester said. "We're in the big leagues. We get to play a game. We get to throw champagne and beer around and act like idiots. It's all good."

Adam Berry has covered baseball for MLB.com since 2011.

Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant, Jon Lester, Ben Zobrist

Cubs' fans flock to Wrigleyville to celebrate

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Somewhere around the seventh inning of the Cubs' thrilling 6-5 victory over the Giants in Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday night, Rick Jasinski turned to his daughter, Alyssa, and asked if maybe he should head home.

Rick made the journey from suburban Carol Stream to the establishments around Wrigley Field, hoping to see the Cubs lock up their second straight trip to the NL Championship Series (the Cubs will face the Nationals or Dodgers in Game 1 at Wrigley Field on Saturday on FS1 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT) but the Cubs were down by three runs and didn't appear to have much fight left on this night. It's a good thing he waited.

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CHICAGO -- Somewhere around the seventh inning of the Cubs' thrilling 6-5 victory over the Giants in Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday night, Rick Jasinski turned to his daughter, Alyssa, and asked if maybe he should head home.

Rick made the journey from suburban Carol Stream to the establishments around Wrigley Field, hoping to see the Cubs lock up their second straight trip to the NL Championship Series (the Cubs will face the Nationals or Dodgers in Game 1 at Wrigley Field on Saturday on FS1 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT) but the Cubs were down by three runs and didn't appear to have much fight left on this night. It's a good thing he waited.

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:: NLDS: Giants vs. Cubs coverage ::

"I said, 'Dad, you know bigger things have happened,' and we stayed," Alyssa said with a broad smile, as she joined the celebration on Clark and Addison with her father, a fellow lifelong Cubs fan. "Ninth inning, here you go and we had a great time."

"Why can't it just be easy, you know?" added Rick with a laugh.

More than 1,500 fans flocked to Wrigley to celebrate after the Cubs scored four in the ninth inning and pulled off an improbable comeback.

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Fans were hoping for the best but expecting the worst when the Cubs' 2-0 lead in the series seemingly evaporated, and the Cubs' past playoff heartbreaks still resonating in their minds. But as some in the excited masses pointed out, this Cubs team is a little bit different from the past.

"You know, that stuff creeps up, but not against this team," said Tom Felson, who lives on Addison about 1 1/2 blocks from Wrigley. "This team doesn't care about what's happening in the past.

"This team is built for now. They don't care about anything but now. They care about each other. This team, what else can you say about them?"

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Tuesday's celebration was lively but certainly not out of control, with a large group of police officers watching the fans interact, cheer and celebrate. The perimeter ran from Racine to Halsted streets, with choruses of "Go Cubs Go" breaking out whenever a new group of people joined the party.

Fans hugged, posed for pictures in front of Wrigley and broke into chants of "Javy Baez" in honor of the multitalented infielder who drove in the game-winning run.

There were plenty of "W" flags to fly. Those who didn't have such an item could buy them on the streets. Jerseys from Schwarber to Santo were represented, but it was a somewhat controlled celebration representative of a group that was expecting a few more parties.

"There's a quiet confidence brewing here," Felson said. "This team is about to take over this city and I think tonight is going to be a big part of that."

"This is the year," said 17-year-old Brian Dezara, whose opinion was seconded by his friend Luke Nauman. "So much momentum. This is definitely the year."

Maybe the best analysis of the night came from a fan walking with two other friends but stopped to look at Wrigley.

"What the heck just happened here?" he said, punctuated by a few high-fives.

Scott Merkin has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2003.

Chicago Cubs

Ross oldest catcher to homer in postseason history

39-year-old gets Cubs on board in NLDS-clinching win
MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- For a 39-year-old catcher savoring the final days of his baseball playing career, David Ross is hardly riding into the sunset quietly  

Having already become the first catcher since 1935 to record a pickoff and caught-stealing in a postseason game, Ross nudged his way into another historic footnote by becoming the oldest catcher to hit a postseason homer in Tuesday's 6-5 win. It tied the game in the third inning, briefly taking batterymate John Lackey off the hook for allowing a first-inning run. Next up will be Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, set for Saturday at Wrigley Field against either the Nationals or Dodgers on FS1 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- For a 39-year-old catcher savoring the final days of his baseball playing career, David Ross is hardly riding into the sunset quietly  

Having already become the first catcher since 1935 to record a pickoff and caught-stealing in a postseason game, Ross nudged his way into another historic footnote by becoming the oldest catcher to hit a postseason homer in Tuesday's 6-5 win. It tied the game in the third inning, briefly taking batterymate John Lackey off the hook for allowing a first-inning run. Next up will be Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, set for Saturday at Wrigley Field against either the Nationals or Dodgers on FS1 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.

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:: NLDS: Giants vs. Cubs coverage ::

"We've been down this road together," said Lackey. "I couldn't really root for a better dude. This is his last year. I'd love to be in a fight with him any day of the week."

Leading off the inning, Ross crushed a 1-0 changeup from Giants starter Matt Moore, who allowed only one other hit in his eight-inning effort. The home run, which traveled a projected 358 feet, according to Statcast™, was Ross' first postseason blast, and the fifth and final one the Cubs hit in the series.

Ross supplanted Bob Boone (1986 ALCS) as the oldest catcher to homer in the postseason and passed Moises Alou (2003 NLCS) as the oldest Cubs player, period, to hit a postseason homer.

Video: CHC@SF: 'Grandpa Rossy' makes history with solo homer

His inclusion in the lineup Tuesday hadn't been a guarantee either. He hadn't started behind the plate for one of Lackey's starts since July 5, but his experience, manager Joe Maddon explained pregame, earned Ross the nod for his second start of the series.

Video: CHC@SF Gm4: Maddon on atmosphere surrounding the Cubs

Jenifer Langosch has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2007.

Chicago Cubs, David Ross

DYK? Cubs-Giants Game 4 NLDS

MLB.com

Tuesday's Game 4 of the National League Division Series between the Cubs and Giants is one that will likely be remembered forever in the North Side of Chicago -- and perhaps in San Francisco, as well.

What appeared to be a series-tying win for the Giants -- one that would've placed all the pressure on the Cubs in a potential Game 5 at Wrigley Field -- completely flipped in the span of six plate appearances in the top of the ninth, as Chicago erased a three-run deficit and stormed back to claim a dramatic 6-5 victory to punch their ticket to the NL Championship Series for the second time in as many years.

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Tuesday's Game 4 of the National League Division Series between the Cubs and Giants is one that will likely be remembered forever in the North Side of Chicago -- and perhaps in San Francisco, as well.

What appeared to be a series-tying win for the Giants -- one that would've placed all the pressure on the Cubs in a potential Game 5 at Wrigley Field -- completely flipped in the span of six plate appearances in the top of the ninth, as Chicago erased a three-run deficit and stormed back to claim a dramatic 6-5 victory to punch their ticket to the NL Championship Series for the second time in as many years.

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:: NLDS: Giants vs. Cubs coverage ::

Before the Cubs host either the Dodgers or the Nationals in Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday (FOX/FS1), here are the facts and figures you should know about Chicago's big win Tuesday night:

• This is the first time the Cubs have won a postseason series in back-to-back years since 1907-08 -- the years of the franchise's last World Series triumphs.

• The Giants' loss marked the franchise's first in a potential postseason elimination game since Game 4 of the 2003 NLDS against the Marlins. San Francisco went a remarkable 10-0 in elimination games under manager Bruce Bochy between that game in 2003 and Tuesday's season-ending loss, which also ends the Giants' run of 11 consecutive postseason series victories -- which is tied with the 1998-2001 Yankees for the longest streak in history.

• The Cubs are only the second team to come back from three runs down in the ninth inning or later in a game in which it clinched a postseason series. The first occurrence was the 1986 Mets' comeback from a 3-0 deficit in the ninth inning against the Astros in Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS.

Javier Baez's go-ahead single in the top of the ninth -- which proved to be the game-winner -- was the fifth go-ahead hit by a Cubs player in the ninth inning or later in the franchise's postseason history, and the first since Doug Glanville's RBI triple in the top of the 11th inning in Game 3 of the 2003 NLCS.

• Before Baez came to the plate, pinch-hitter Willson Contreras' two-run single up the middle was the fourth game-tying hit in the ninth inning or later in Cubs postseason history -- and their second of this series, following Kris Bryant's game-tying two-run homer in the ninth one night before in Game 3.

Video: CHC@SF Gm4: Contreras hits two-run single to tie it

The Cubs are only the fifth team in postseason history to enjoy back-to-back games with a game-tying RBI in the ninth inning or later, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The last team to accomplish such a feat was the 2001 Yankees in that year's Fall Classic.

• The Cubs' 3-6 hitters in the lineup were a combined 5-for-60 in the series before the top of the ninth, when Anthony Rizzo walked, Ben Zobrist knocked an RBI double, Contreras hit his two-RBI single and Jason Heyward reached on a throwing error by Brandon Crawford to set up Baez's eventual game-winner.

• San Francisco's win expectancy rating was at 97.5 percent when the ninth inning began, according to Fangraphs. It plummeted to 16.4 percent when the top of the ninth came to a close.

• During the regular season, the Giants had the most blown saves of any Major League team, with 32. No other postseason club had more than 22.

• With his solo home run in the top of the third inning, 39-year-old David Ross became the oldest player to hit a postseason homer in Cubs history, passing Moises Alou, who was 37 during the 2003 NL Championship Series. Ross also is the oldest catcher to go deep for any team during the playoffs, surpassing the Angels' Bob Boone, who was 38 in the 1986 American League Championship Series.

Video: CHC@SF Gm4: Ross drills a solo homer to left field

• The RBI single by Giants starter Matt Moore in the bottom of the fourth gave San Francisco a 2-1 lead, making it the first go-ahead hit by a Giants pitcher during the postseason since Hal Schumacher smacked a two-run single in Game 5 of the 1933 World Series against the Washington Senators.

• Moore had only one other RBI in his career, when he was playing for current Cubs skipper Joe Maddon with the 2012 Rays.

• Moore got his hit on an 0-2 count, becoming only the fifth pitcher to drive in a postseason run while that far behind in the count. The last was the Cardinals' Jeff Suppan, who homered on an 0-2 count against the Mets in the 2006 NLCS.

• Before Moore, the last five times a pitcher drove in a postseason run (eight RBIs total) happened to be for the Cubs. A non-Cubs hurler hadn't accomplished the feat since St. Louis' Michael Wacha in the 2013 NLCS.

;• Moore was just as impactful on the mound, going eight solid innings and allowing only two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out 10 on 120 pitches. Moore is now one of only three left-handed pitchers who have recorded multiple games with at least seven innings pitched and two or fewer hits allowed in postseason play, joining Kenny Rogers and Hall of Famer Whitey Ford.

Video: CHC@SF Gm4: Moore fans 10, drives in run in 6-5 win

• Moore is also one of only three left-handed pitchers in Giants history to go at least eight innings and strike out at least 10 batters in a postseason game. The other two pitchers in that club are pretty good company: Madison Bumgarner (2014 NL Wild Card Game) and Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell (Game 1, 1933 World Series).

• Moore's gem in Game 4 followed a great performance by Johnny Cueto in Game 1 that puts the pair in elite company. According to ESPN, the last pair of teammates to each record starts of at least eight innings and 10 strikeouts in the same postseason series was Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson in the 2001 NLCS.

• There is one club that Moore can claim all to himself: He is the first Giants pitcher to combine an RBI at the plate with 10 strikeouts on the mound in a postseason game.

• The Giants' Conor Gillaspie, who hit a huge go-ahead two-run triple off Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman in Game 3, notched an RBI single off reliever Travis Wood in Tuesday's fifth inning. That gave him three RBIs against left-handed pitchers in the past two games. Gillaspie didn't drive in a single run against a southpaw during the regular season and picked up just three RBIs off them in 2015.

• Tuesday's loss ended a streak of 18 consecutive postseason wins for the Giants in games in which they scored at least five runs. San Francisco's last loss in October when putting at least five runs on the board was that Game 4 of the 2003 NLCS, a 7-6 loss to the Florida Marlins that doubles as the franchise's most recent elimination game loss before Game 4 of the 2016 NLDS.

Matt Kelly and Andrew Simon are reporters for MLB.com.

Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants

Cubs respect how Giants kept fighting back

MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Cubs didn't need to look at the flags hanging on the left-field wall at AT&T Park or consult the calendar to confirm it was, indeed, an even year. They appreciated how difficult a foe the Giants proved to be in the National League Division Series by simply watching them compete for four straight games.

The Cubs prevailed in the NLDS, three games to one, and advanced to the NL Championship Series (Game 1 Saturday on FS1, 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT) with a 6-5 win over the Giants on Tuesday night. Fittingly, it was a one-run game. The two clubs met 11 times this year, and eight of those matchups were decided by a single run.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The Cubs didn't need to look at the flags hanging on the left-field wall at AT&T Park or consult the calendar to confirm it was, indeed, an even year. They appreciated how difficult a foe the Giants proved to be in the National League Division Series by simply watching them compete for four straight games.

The Cubs prevailed in the NLDS, three games to one, and advanced to the NL Championship Series (Game 1 Saturday on FS1, 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT) with a 6-5 win over the Giants on Tuesday night. Fittingly, it was a one-run game. The two clubs met 11 times this year, and eight of those matchups were decided by a single run.

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Chicago won 16 more games than San Francisco in the regular season and cruised into October as the undisputed favorite in the NL. But the Giants put up a fight, dropping 1-0 and 5-2 decisions in Games 1 and 2 and proving their grit in a 6-5, 13-inning Game 3 win, their 10th straight elimination-game victory.

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"You have to give credit to the San Francisco Giants. It's a really nice team," Javier Baez said. "They never give up. We did the little things, and we had the big base hit at the right time."

Include - Html: :: NLDS: Giants vs. Cubs coverage ::

With a more stable bullpen, the Giants might have sent the series back to Wrigley Field for Game 5 on Thursday. Instead, the Cubs finally snapped the Giants' never-say-die streak.

"I do want to congratulate the Giants," manager Joe Maddon said. "I've known [San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy] for a long time. I've always had a tremendous amount of respect for him and how he does things and this entire organization. I have a lot of friends in this organization. I actually had the pleasure of meeting Willie Mays before the game today, which was really special for me.

"For us to be able to win today ... to beat [the Giants] in this ballpark is not easy, and it's -- the way [they] do things, I think it's very admirable and a great example for the rest of the industry."

At times, the series felt closer than even the final 3-1 margin might suggest. Game 1 was a magnificent pitchers' duel between Jon Lester and Johnny Cueto.

Video: SF@CHC Gm1: Cueto fans 10, holds Cubs to one run

Giants left-hander Matt Moore was electric in Game 4, striking out 10 batters and limiting the Cubs to two runs on two hits in eight innings.

"You've got to tip your cap to Matt Moore. He pitched a heck of a game," Kris Bryant said. "They played us tough. It was just great baseball overall."

Video: Nelson discusses Moore's eight outstanding innings

Game 3 was an instant classic, a back-and-forth affair that displayed the resiliency of both clubs and offered a snapshot of the key component to the Giants' three World Series runs since 2010. But in the end, the Cubs shoved aside the even-year dynasty and moved on to the next challenge.

"We show nothing but the utmost respect for those guys and how they go about their business," Lester said. "They're a very classy organization and a classy team."

Adam Berry has covered baseball for MLB.com since 2011.

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