For the first time since 2003, the Chicago Cubs have won the National League Division Series. The Cubs locked in a 6-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals to take Game 4 and secure a spot in the National League Championship Series.
Even though the Cardinals jumped out first, the Cubs showed promise throughout the entire game.
The first two runs came off the bat of Stephen Piscotty, who has easily been the most powerful hitter of the series for St. Louis. After Matt Carpenter got on-base with a hit, the 24-year-old hit a two-run home run to give the Cardinals a first inning 2-0 lead.
The Cubs managed to score in the second inning. The pitcher, Jason Hammel, helped his own cause with an RBI single to center field, which plated Starlin Castro.
Javier Baez added a three-run blast off of John Lackey to give the Cubs a 4-2 lead over the Cardinals. Baez has went 4-for-5 (.800) with a home run and three RBI over just two games played this postseason. On Tuesday, Baez took over at shortstop for the injured Addison Russell.
Russell injured his hamstring after hitting a triple in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 3. The hamstring injury is not super serious, so Russell should be back at some point during the playoffs.
The Cardinals manager Mike Matheny only allowed Lackey to go 3.0 innings after giving up four runs on four hits and a walk. The 36-year-old was dominant in Game 1, but could not repeat his excellent performance this time around against the Cubs.
Adam Wainwright relieved Lackey and pitched two innings of perfect baseball. If the Cardinals would have moved on, Wainwright could have been used a starter.
The Cardinals mounted a comeback and tied the game to help out the bullpen. It was Tony Cruz with a double to right field that knocked in Jason Heyward to cut the lead to one run.
Just one moment later, the Cardinals added another run. Brandon Moss hit a game-tying single to right field scoring Jhonny Peralta. Cruz, however, was thrown out at home trying to give St. Louis the lead. Instead, the Cardinals settled for a 4-4 tie game.
The runs came against Travis Wood and Trevor Cahill after Jason Hammel got the start. Even though Cahill gave up a run, he would be rewarded with the win.
Meanwhile, Hammel finished just three innings, while giving up two runs on three hits and three walks. It was not his best start, but the Cubs got the win. The team win is more important than personal gain for Hammel.
While Jonathan Broxton and Trevor Rosenthal were dominant, one pitcher was not. Left-hander Kevin Siegrist started the sixth inning and immediately struggled.
The 26-year-old gave up a lazer to the right field seats off the bat of Anthony Rizzo to make it 5-4. It was Rizzo's second home run in as many games for the Cubs during the NLDS battle with the Cardinals.
Siegrist made it out of the sixth inning, which earned him a shot in the seventh inning. Rookie Kyle Schwarber did not agree as he belted a home run to right field. The home run that gave Chicago a 6-4 lead over St. Louis traveled over the scoreboard and was clocked at 113 miles per hour.
In his first year as the Cubs manager, Joe Maddon handed the ball to Hector Rondon to record the save. The 27-year-old, in his third Major League season, notched his second postseason save. He struck out two batters, including a strikeout against Piscotty to end the game.
Chicago has advanced to the National League Championship Series to face either the New York Mets or Los Angeles Dodgers.
As for St. Louis, they will head to the offseason and prepare for their revenge against the Cubs next season. The Cardinals have made it clear that they are pulling for the Cubs to make a World Series push.