Justin Turner hit a walk-off three-run home run off Cubs’ pitcher John Lackey in the bottom of the ninth, leading the Dodgers to a 4-3 victory over the Cubs in game two of the NLCS, taking a 2-0 lead in the series. Turner drove in all the Dodgers’ runs with a game-tying RBI single in the fifth inning. Rich Hill pitched five innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts.
Have you heard of another Dodger hitting a post-season walk-off home run? It happened exactly twenty-nine years before Turner hit his. Kirk Gibson entered game two of the World Series with the Dodgers trailing by a run. Gibson had not started the game because of a leg injury. Well, he drove the ball into the right-field stands for a walk-off two-run home run. Twenty-nine years later, Justin Turner drove the ball over the center field wall for a walk-off home run in game two of the NLCS.
The Dodgers and Cubs battled in game two of the NLCS, with a pitchers’ duel the whole way through. Rich Hill allowed only one run over five innings and Cubs’ starter Jon Lester allowed one run over 4.2 innings. After the fifth inning, both clubs had turned the ball over to the bullpen. The bullpens battled all the way to the ninth inning when Turner hit his walk-off blast.
When the scoring started, it didn’t look promising. For the second night in a row, the Cubs got on the board first with a home run. This homer was a solo shot hit by Addison Russell. Rich Hill threw a fastball that was supposed be on the outer part of the plate, but he missed badly, throwing it to the inside of the plate. Russell took advantage of the mistake by Hill, pulling the ball into the seats in left field for a solo home run. The Cubs took a 1-0 lead.
The Dodgers have not given up all year and last night was no exception. The Dodgers rallied for a run in the bottom of the fifth. Charlie Culberson led off the inning with a double, then he advanced to third on Chris Taylor‘s groundout. Justin Turner then singled to right field. Culberson scored and the game was tied at one.
After that, there was no more score until the bottom of the ninth inning when the Dodgers rallied for three runs. Yasiel Puig led off the inning with a walk, then advanced to second on a bunt by Kyle Farmer. Taylor then walked and left the heroics up to Turner. Turner, as you know if you read the top of this post, launched a three-run into center field, sending all the Dodger fans home happy.
Keys To The Game:
Sometimes a walk can be even better than a hit. This played out in the ninth inning when the Dodgers’ only hit in the frame was Turner’s home run. Puig led off the inning with a walk and then with two outs and Puig on second, Chris Taylor walked. This allowed Turner to come to the plate in the ninth and hit the big walk-off homer that the Dodgers so desperately needed.
Not Covering? No Problem:
In the top of the fifth inning, Cubs’ hitting Jason Heyward hit a bouncer to first base. Usually, Cody Bellinger would field the ball, wait for the pitcher to get close to the base, then toss the ball to him. This time, however, Rich Hill forgot to cover first base. As soon as Bellinger and Heyward realized this, it was a race to the bag. Both players dove and Bellinger reached the base just before Heyward did.
The series will move to Chicago on Tuesday with Yu Darvish taking the mound for the Dodgers and Kyle Hendricks pitching for the Cubs. Darvish has faced the Cubs only once, a game in which he allowed two runs over 4.2 innings in 2016. Hendricks has a record of 1-0 in two career postseason starts with a 3.27 ERA. The game will start at 6:00 pm PT and be televised on TBS.