CHICAGO — Winning hits don’t need to be pretty.
They just can’t be outs.
That’s about the best way to describe what Anthony Rizzo pulled in the eighth inning of Monday’s Game 3 of the NLDS. With two outs and Leonys Martin standing on second, the Cubs first baseman hit a fly ball that made its way to short left field.
Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner ran out, left fielder Jayson Werth and center fielder Michael Taylor converged. But no one made a play and the ball dropped safely.
Martin easily made his way around third and rushed home for a 2-1 lead.
Rizzo, perhaps surprised as anyone else at Wrigley Field, fell down between first and second for the final out of the inning. Three outs by Cubs closer Wade Davis later and Chicago had a 2-1 series lead as the best-of-5 series heads into Tuesday’s Game 4.
The Cubs will send Jake Arrieta to the mound while the Nationals are scheduled to start Tanner Roark after previously declaring they will save Stephen Strasburg for a possible Game 5.
The wild finish put a punctuation mark on a game that had been defined by the performance of both team’s starters. Jose Quintana pitched masterfully in his first playoff start while Max Scherzer took a no-hitter in the seventh inning before surrendering a double to Ben Zobrist that got him pulled for the game.
Zobrist would later be singled home as the tying run in the seventh by Albert Almora.
Almora not only pinch-hit for Kyle Schwarber, but he got the beefy left fielder off the hook after Schwarber made two errors on one fly ball from Daniel Murphy. The miscues extended the sixth inning and allowed Ryan Zimmerman to give the Nats a 1-0 lead by doubling in the next at-bat.
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