NLDS

Six Cubs Home Runs Lead Team to 8-6 Win

Behind a barrage of home runs, the Chicago Cubs knocked off the St. Louis Cardinals 8-6 in Game 3 of the NLDS at Wrigley Field. 

The win moves the Cubs to within one victory of advancing to their first NLCS since the 2003 season. The six home runs that the Cubs hit in the game set a new MLB record for long balls in a postseason game. 

The Cubs managed to get two runners on base in the first inning, with Jorge Soler drawing a walk and Kris Bryant getting his first career postseason hit, but that was all they could muster. Anthony Rizzo scalded a line drive toward shortstop, but Jhonny Peralta snared it and doubled off Soler to end the inning. 

The Cardinals threatened in the top of the second after Jason Heyward lofted a double over Kyle Schwarber's head, but Jake Arrieta was able to work his way out of the situation. He induced three consecutive groundouts, including a final one from Yadier Molina, to keep the game scoreless. 

That proved to be important, as Schwarber uncorked a home run. Going opposite field, Schwarber took a Michael Wacha pitch over the left field wall to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. 

The Cubs held that lead until the top of the fourth inning, when control issues from Arrieta allowed the Cardinals to seize the advantage. Peralta landed the big blow of the inning when he lined a double off the left field wall to score Stephen Piscotty, and then Matt Holliday scored as Tommy Pham grounded out to third base.

Arrieta was able to get out of the inning without further damage however as he induced a groundout from Molina to keep the Cubs' deficit at 2-1. 

The Cardinals' lead was short-lived however, as Starlin Castro blasted a home run deep into the left field bleachers to tie things up at 2-2. The Cubs looked to have an opportunity to seize the lead when Addison Russell lined a triple to left field, but he was removed from the game with an apparent injury, and Arrieta struck out to strand his replacement Javier Baez at third base.  

Arrieta managed to hold the Cardinals in check in the top of the fifth, and his teammates rewarded him with a barrage of offense. After Soler lined a single, Kris Bryant came up and blasted a home run into the left field bleachers to give the Cubs a 4-2 lead. When Wacha was lifted for Kevin Siegrist, the narrative stayed the same, as Rizzo blasted a home run over the right field wall to make it a 5-2 game. 

The Cubs had an opportunity to tack on more runs, but Miguel Montero went down swinging to end the frame with Schwarber at third base. 

Arrieta ended up having to come out of the game in the top of the sixth inning after surrendering a long home run to Jason Heyward. The Cubs did manage to get out of the situation as Clayton Richard induced a groundout from Kolten Wong to end the frame. 

To express their appreciation, the Cubs gave their pitching staff two more runs to widen the lead. After Chris Coghlan pinch-hit and led off the inning with a single, Soler crushed a home run to left field to give the Cubs a 7-4 lead. 

After Pedro Strop worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning, the Cubs gave their pitchers yet another bit of support. With Jonathan Broxton pitching, Dexter Fowler launched the team's sixth home of the game just under the right field video board to make it an 8-4 game with three outs to go. 

The Cubs didn't make it easy in the bottom of the ninth, allowing a two-run home run to Piscotty, but Hector Rondon finally recorded the final out of the game to put the Cubs within one win of advancing to the NLCS. 

The Cubs will look to accomplish that feat on Tuesday afternoon when they play the Cardinals in Game 4 of the NLDS. Jason Hammel will take the hill for the Cubs, and Lance Lynn will pitch for the Cardinals. 

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