The Chicago Cubs are headed to the National League Championship Series after defeating the Washington Nationals Thursday night in Washington.
It is the third straight season that the Cubs will make an appearance in the NLCS.
Gio Gonzalez had a short outing in game five, pitching three innings, allowing three runs on three hits, walking four and struck out five. Kyle Hendricks pitched four innings allowing four runs on nine hits and struck out seven.
Nationals strike early
Going into the bottom of the first innings Washington trailed 1-0 after an Anthony Rizzo ground out that scored Jon Jay.
The Nationals would answer in the top of the second with a flurry of runs. Daniel Murphy started the inning with a homerun. Following back-to-back singles, Michael Taylor hit a homerun of his own giving the Nationals a 4-1 lead.
The Cubs countered with offense of their own. In the top of the third, a ground out by Addison Russell and a wild pitch added two runs for Chicago bringing the Cubs within a run.
In the top of the fifth Nationals Manager Dusty Baker called upon Max Scherzer to sustain their one run lead. The gamble would not pay off.
Wilson Contreras started the rally with an infield single. A pitch hitting Ben Zobrist followed up with a single. Russell then doubled to left to score two runs. An intentional walk and two passed balls later put runners on second and third with two outs. Jay was hit by a pitch with the basses loaded that score another run.
The Cubs added four runs on three hits and two errors to give them a 7-4 lead in the one inning of work from Scherzer.
Russell added another run for the Cubs in the sixth, putting Chicago up by four.
Nationals try to climb back in
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth Jayson Werth got things started with a walk. A Bryce Harper double put runners on second and third. Ryan Zimmerman then walked but a runner would score on a wild pitch, the Nationals are down 8-5. Murphy then doubled to left, Washington now down by two.
A fielder’s choice in the top of the seventh gave the Cubs a 9-6 lead. A sac fly from Harper brought the lead back to two runs.
A Taylor single in the bottom of the eight brought Washington within a run.
Wade Davis closed the door on the Nationals, striking out back-to-back batters in the bottom of the ninth to get the save.
The Cubs will be heading to Chavez Ravine for a date with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Chicago was 2-4 against the Dodgers in the regular season.
The Dodgers will send Clayton Kershaw to the mound in game one. Rich Hill and Yu Darvish will be tabbed for games two and three. Alex Wood will get the call in game four.
Jon Lester will likely start for the Cubs in the opening game of the NLCS.