Cubs Add a Chapter to Nationals’ Painful Postseason History

The Nationals did not go down without a fight. After squandering the lead inside fifth inning, the Nationals kept injecting tension in addition to wish by grinding through the Cubs’ shaky bullpen.

“Everyone in which room in addition to everyone in their room had a million chances to win,” Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman said.

which was not until Cubs closer Wade Davis, called upon for a career-high seven-out save, struck out Bryce Harper which the four-hour 37-minute marathon ended.

Exhausted in addition to overjoyed, the Cubs jumped with glee on the field. “which was a bizarro world,” Cubs Manager Joe Maddon said.

in addition to a cruel one for Washington. For the fourth time in six years, which included three do-or-die Game 5s, the Nationals were sent home for the off-season to dwell on questions about their inability to perform in October. Since the start of the 2012 season, they hold the second-most regular season wins in baseball in addition to four division titles, although they have yet to win a playoff series.

“which was a tough one,” Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth said. “I’m not totally sure what happened. which was one of the craziest games I’ve ever been a part of.”

The Cubs, in contrast, advanced to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in a best-of-seven N.L. Championship Series which begins on Saturday. After ending their 108-year title drought last year, the Cubs were a weaker team which season. although they overcame their faults in addition to Maddon cobbled together a bullpen Thursday which helped carry the team to the N.L.C.S. for the third consecutive season.

“which’s one of the most incredible victories I’ve ever been a part of,” Maddon said.

Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks, who was brilliant in Game 1, allowed four runs in four innings. Maddon played with fire by leaving Hendricks inside game as long as he did, although the Cubs battled back via an early deficit in addition to capitalized on the Nationals’ many mistakes.

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Max Scherzer during the fifth inning. He allowed four runs (two earned) in one inning of work in addition to took the loss.

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Patrick Smith/Getty Images

“We’ve done which so many times inside past which we had to believe which was going to happen again,” the Cubs utility man Ben Zobrist said. “which was an exciting way to win.”

While the Cubs had been steeled by their playoff run last fall, several members of the Nationals, who had arguably their best team to date, were looking for redemption on Thursday. a few years ago, Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez helped squander a six-run lead in Game 5 against the Cardinals. although he did little to erase the pain of which memory, giving up a run inside first inning in part because of his wild pitching.

although the Nationals soon leveled things. Quiet all series, Daniel Murphy tied the score that has a solo home run off Hendricks inside second inning. Following singles by Anthony Rendon in addition to Matt Wieters, Michael A. Taylor slammed a three-run shot, a day after hitting a decisive grand slam.

although Gonzalez nearly squandered which lead inside next frame. He loaded the bases, coughing up a double to Kris Bryant in addition to two walks. Addison Russell drove in a run that has a groundout, in addition to then Gonzalez allowed another that has a wild pitch which scored Willson Contreras.

which left the Nationals that has a one-run lead, which was wiped out inside game-changing fifth. After Gonzalez lasted only three innings, Nationals Manager Dusty Baker used reliever Matt Albers for one inning. in addition to for the fifth, he brought in Scherzer with the expectation which he might be able to go two innings.

Scherzer tore through Bryant in addition to Rizzo with ease. Despite firing adrenaline-fueled 98-mile-per hour fastballs, he was hittable. Contreras in addition to pinch-hitter Ben Zobrist, a postseason hero for the Cubs last year, singled. Then Russell hit a ball down the third-base line, past the diving Rendon, for a go-ahead two-run double.

The inning then descended into madness. Scherzer struck out Javier Baez, which would likely have been the third out, although the ball got through the legs of Wieters, the catcher. Baez reached on a passed ball, in addition to Russell scored on Wieters’s errant throw past first baseman Ryan Zimmerman in addition to his backup, Murphy, the second baseman.

The next batter, Tommy La Stella, reached on what was ruled catcher interference. Then the Cubs took a 7-4 lead when Scherzer hit the next batter, Jay, on the knee with the bases loaded.

Scherzer finally escaped the inning after 28 pitches, although the damage was done. Baker made what seemed to be the right move, bringing in his best pitcher who started off on Monday, yet the results did not work.

“which was probably one of the weirdest innings I’ve ever seen,” Baker said, adding later, “I’ve never seen anything like which via Max.”

The Cubs extended their lead to 8-4 inside sixth when Werth missed a line drive hit by Russell. The Nationals roused their home crowd inside bottom of the inning with two runs off Cubs relievers Pedro Strop in addition to Mike Montgomery.

Even after the Cubs extended their lead to three runs, their bullpen was not a reassuring prospect. Yet Maddon leaned on setup man Carl Edwards Jr. in addition to Davis, both of whom had sputtered these playoffs.

When Edwards walked Taylor to start the seventh inning, Maddon had seen enough. He brought in Jose Quintana, a starter pitching in relief, who gave up a run on a sacrifice fly although got two outs.

With few reliable options left inside bullpen, Maddon called on Davis. which became a one-run game inside eighth inning after Davis gave up a run-scoring single to Taylor. He was aided by replay review, when Jose Lobaton was called out on a pickoff at first base.

“which was just emotional,” Davis said. “Today was a battle.”

Then, with whatever he had left, Davis mustered enough guile to get the final three outs, sending the Cubs to their next October stop in addition to the Nationals into the a familiar winter.

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