Chicago Cubs gamble with Chapman in the eighth, fall to Giants

The Chicago Cubs traveled out to the West Coast with an easy 2-0 lead in the NLDS over the Giants. Despite jumping out to an early lead, the Cubbies were stumbled late as San Francisco rallied. Definitely a game for the ages.

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Everything was looking great for the Chicago Cubs up until the eighth inning. Right-hander Jake Arrieta muscled his way through San Francisco’s lineup and exited with the lead. Not to mention, he hammered a three-run homer, giving himself an early 3-0 lead.

That lead would disappear as the Giants proved that they were not going down without a fight. It was a nerve-wracking night and frustrating for Chicago’s lineup who left a handful of runner’s on base.

Something that they are going to need to clean up if they have any hopes of reaching the National League Championship Series. But at least they got to Madison Bumgarner.

Prior to tonight’s game, Bumgarner was pretty much untouchable. In his previous start in New York, he hurled a complete game shutout against the Mets. Tonight, he had trouble chopping through Chicago’s lineup.

Madison tossed over 100 pitches before exiting after five innings of work. The Cubs tagged him for three earned runs on seven hits. In addition, he issued one walk and struck out four aside from giving up the home run to Arrieta.

Small Victory

Although Chicago failed to drive in more than four runs off Bumgarner, they still managed to make him sweat. Sweat as in work the hardest he has ever worked in his postseason career. Which is a win in its own way.

On the other hand, Arrieta allowed Denard Span and Buster Posey bring the Giants back into the ballgame. Span doubled out to right field and came around to score on Posey’s RBI single, cutting the lead down to two.

Not Giving Up

Just a few innings later, Span reached on a one-out triple and scored on Brandon Belt‘s sacrifice fly out to right field. Chicago had plenty of opportunities to add to their score but failed to do so. As a result, San Francisco fought back, regaining the lead in the eighth inning.

After Hector Rondon allowed the first two batter’s reach, Joe Maddon called upon his closer, Aroldis Chapman. Chapman entered the game with Giants on first and second, and a chance to record a six-out save.

It did not work out the way Joe wanted. Moments after Hunter Pence struck out on a fastball practically above his head, Conor Gillaspie stepped to the plate.

Gillaspie launched a three-run homer against the Mets to clinch the Wild Card. Instead of allowing Chapman to get ahead in the count, Gillaspie belted a pitch out to Triple’s Alley, sending San Francisco’s crowd into a frenzy.

Both Belt and Posey scored after Albert Almora Jr. missed a diving attempt in right-center. The ball rolled to the fence. After that, it was all San Francisco, again. Brandon Crawford singled in a run and was hit in the elbow on a throw.

Postseason Drama

San Francisco had a rally of their own so it as only right for the Chicago Cubs to put together one of their own. Dexter Fowler worked Sergio Romo for a walk, opening the door for Kris Bryant who tied things up with a two-run homer in the ninth.

Mike Montgomery, who warmed up when Arrieta was in the game, was called to the mound in the ninth. Montgomery walked a runner with one out with Posey due up next. Posey lined a pitch out to right to a diving Almora who made the catch and throw to first baseman, Anthony Rizzo for a double-play.

However, Mike gave up the game-winning double late, allowing the Giants to force a game four which will feature John Lackey and Matt Moore.

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