Chris Taylor hit a tie-breaking solo home run in the sixth inning as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Chicago Cubs, 5-2, in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series Saturday evening at Dodger Stadium.
No Cub hitter reached base against six Dodger pitchers after Albert Almora Jr.’s two-run homer in the fourth opened the scoring.
Kenta Maeda, the third of six Dodger pitchers, retired all three batters he faced for the victory. Kenley Jansen struck out all four batters he faced for the save before a sellout crowd announced at 54,289.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be played Sunday at Dodger Stadium. The team winning Game 1 has won 22 of 31 National League Championship Series since it was expanded to a best-of-seven format in 1985.
The victory was the Dodgers first in Game 1 of the NLCS since 1985. They lost their next five NLCS Game 1s before Saturday.
The Dodgers tied the score with two runs in the fifth. Logan Forsythe and Austin Barnes drew back-to-back walks with one out. Yasiel Puig doubled in Forsythe. Barnes scored on Charlie Culberson’s sacrifice fly.
The Dodgers added two insurance runs in the seventh.
Puig led off with a homer. Culberson followed with a double and scored two batters on Justin Turner’s single. Culberson was initially called out, but the call was overturned on video review because it was decided Chicago catcher Wilson Contreras violated the home plate collision rule by blocking home plate before he had the ball.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon was ejected for arguing the call.
Hector Rondon, the second of four Chicago pitchers, was charged with the loss.
Rondon allowed a home run by Taylor, the first batter he faced in relief of starter Jose Quintana, struck out Turner, then was replaced by Mike Montgomery.
Culberson replaced starting shortstop Corey Seager on the 25-man roster for the series released Saturday. Seager was unable to play because of a back injury.
Culberson had spent the entire season with the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City until being recalled Sept. 4, after the major league roster limit was expanded to 40 players. He was two-for-13 for a .154 batting average in 15 regular season games with the Dodgers and had been hitless in seven at-bats in the postseason before Saturday.
Dodger starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fifth after allowing two runs and four hits, striking out four and walking one.
— City News Service
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