Dodgers level series with Cubs behind Kershaw’s gem


Left-handed hurler Clayton Kershaw pitched seven stellar innings and Adrian Gonzalez hit the winning homer in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 1-0 Major League Baseball playoff victory over the Chicago Cubs.

Dodgers starter Kershaw allowed just two hits to help the Dodgers level the best-of-seven National League Championship Series at one game apiece.

Gonzales belted a solo home run off Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks in the second inning, and thanks to Kershaw and closing pitcher Kenley Jansen it was enough.

Kershaw gave up back-to-back Cubs hits in the fifth inning, when Javier Baez and Willson Contreras produced two-out singles, but not before he retired 14 straight batters.

Kershaw struck out six in the dominant performance, and Jansen pitched a perfect eighth and ninth to secure the win.

Jansen struck out four, including pinch hitter Miguel Montero, whose eight-inning grand slam lifted Chicago to an 8-4 victory in game one on Saturday.

The series shifts to Los Angeles for game three on Tuesday, when the Dodgers give the ball to former Cub Rich Hill, while the Cubs send ace Jake Arrieta to the mound. Arietta threw a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium on August 30, 2015.

The winner of the series will face either the Cleveland Indians or Toronto Blue Jays in Major League Baseball’s World Series championship showcase.

The Indians won two games at home to take a strong grip on the American League Championship Series, which shifts to Toronto for game three on Monday.

Indians manager Terry Francona said he expected pitcher Trevor Bauer to start the game, after being scratched from his game two start after cutting the little finger of his pitching hand while working on his drone.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal,” Francona said of Bauer’s injury.

While the Cubs’ title drought stretching back to their last World Series triumph in 1908 is the longest in North American sport, the Indians have endured their own epic stretch of futility since last winning it all in 1948.

© 2016 AFP

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