Javy Baez Slams Cubs Past Dodgers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

What was shaping to be another close game between National League powerhouses, the Chicago Cubs pulled away late to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 9-4. Javier Baez hit two home runs, including a grand slam in the sixth inning, and finished the night 4-for-5 with five RBI.

Baez’s first homer, a solo shot, came in the fifth off Ross Stripling to tie the game. It was the only run Stripling allowed, as he navigated through traffic while picking up four strikeouts across five innings.

The Dodgers didn’t hit a home run, which has proven key to their recent strong stretch of play, though did manufacture their runs. That was a point of contention for manager Dave Roberts after his club dropped two of three to the Cubs at Wrigley Field last week.

Los Angeles is 16-2 this month in games they hit a home run in, and 0-4 when they don’t.

Small ball was started by Max Muncy’s leadoff walk in the second inning, and he then stole second base with one out. That proved key as Cody Bellinger lined an RBI single into center field, giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

Then in the bottom of the fifth, Bellinger’s single and advance on a wild pitch was cashed in on Austin Barnes’ RBI base hit that broke a tie. While the Dodgers managed to generate a couple runs, they also ran themselves out of an inning.

With one out and Bellinger at third base, Yasiel Puig’s chopper to a drawn-in infield resulted in a double play to end the second. Not only did Puig swing on a 3-0 count, Bellinger was easily caught in a rundown, and Puig was backpicked at first base.

Puig then hurt the Dodgers in the top of the sixth when he had a line drive inexplicably skip off his glove in right-center field. The error left runners at second and third base, and was followed by Addison Russell’s game-tying RBI single.

Edward Paredes replaced Yimi Garcia with two outs, only to surrender a go-ahead base hit to Ben Zobrist, which was compounded by walking Jason Heyward to set up Baez’s grand slam.

Willson Contreras flared an RBI single into right field in the eighth inning initially looked to be valuable insurance, as the Dodgers scored twice in the bottom of the eighth, but the Cubs tacked on another run in the ninth.

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