|4:38 PM PT5:38 PM MT6:38 PM CT7:38 PM ET19:38 ET23:38 GMT7:38 4:38 PM MST6:38 PM EST7:08 PM VEN3:38 UAE (+1)6:38 PM CT, October 15, 2017
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California Attendance: 54,479
Turner blasts Dodgers past Cubs, into 2-0 NLCS lead
(TSX / STATS) -- LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- With Hollywood as its neighbor, Los Angeles is no stranger to dramatic endings.
And with his game-winning, three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 2 of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner certainly attained movie star status.
The 4-1 victory gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series and plenty of momentum heading to Chicago for Game 3 on Tuesday.
Coincidentally -- or maybe not so coincidentally -- Turner's home run came on the 29th anniversary of Kirk Gibson's game-winning home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series against the Oakland A's.
"One of my earliest baseball memories was being at my grandma's house and watching that game and watching Gibby hit that homer," said Turner, who was about a month away from turning 4 years old when Gibson limped around the bases. "I can't even put it into words right now.
"It's incredible. And the most important thing was helping us get another win. It's something down the road, hopefully many, many years from now, I'll get to tell stories about."
Before Turner's heroics, the game was a battle of bullpens.
One night after taking out ace Clayton Kershaw after five innings, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts did the same with Rich Hill, even though the left-hander had allowed just one run.
The move paid off -- again -- as four Dodgers relievers were nearly perfect over four innings. Even so, the game was tied at 1-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Yasiel Puig opened the ninth against Cubs reliever Brian Duensing with a walk. Charlie Culberson, subbing at shortstop for the injured Corey Seager, moved Puig to second with a sacrifice bunt.
After pinch hitter Kyle Farmer struck out, Cubs manager Joe Maddon summoned John Lackey from the bullpen to face Chris Taylor, who walked, bringing up Turner.
Cubs closer Wade Davis had warmed up as well, but Maddon decided to go with Lackey, normally a starting pitcher. Lackey, who turns 39 next week, was the winning pitcher in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series while pitching for the Anaheim Angels as a 23-year-old rookie. He has been to the postseason in 10 different seasons with four different teams.
"I'm betting on his experience right there as much as anything," Maddon said of his decision to go with Lackey. "I know he went out there and tried to make the pitches he wanted to make. I knew the crowd would not affect him, and it didn't. The first walk, he just kept trying to get Taylor to chase. Once he got to two strikes, (Taylor) didn't chase, to the hitter's credit. I really thought that John would not be affected by the moment.
"Once that walk occurred, all bets were off against Turner. Nobody's really a great matchup against Turner, so it just did not work out."
On a 1-0 count to Turner, Lackey grooved a 91 mph fastball over the plate. Turner didn't miss it, blasting it over the fence in center field for the dramatic victory.
Turner also drove in the Dodgers' first run with a two-out RBI single in the fifth inning.
"Absolutely not," Roberts said when asked if there was anyone else he would rather have at the plate in that situation. "I'm not saying he's David Ortiz, but I played with David, and you're talking about big spots and coming up big. And J.T.'s that guy for us. He just has that pulse where he can kind of keep his calm and stay within the strike zone. He's not afraid to fail and just wants to be in that spot."
Hill gave up only a solo homer to Addison Russell in the fifth inning but was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the fifth, Roberts continuing to show trust in his bullpen.
Brandon Morrow was perfect in the sixth and seventh innings before Josh Fields (one out) and Tony Watson (two outs) combined to throw a perfect eighth.
Kenley Jansen entered in the top of the ninth and struck out Kris Bryant for the first out before hitting Anthony Rizzo with a pitch, the only baserunner allowed by the Dodgers bullpen all night.
Jansen, though, wasn't fazed, striking out Willson Contreras and getting Albert Almora Jr. on a groundout to end the inning.
Russell broke the scoreless tie in the top of the fifth, hitting an 88 mph fastball from Hill into the seats just inside the left field foul pole for a 1-0 lead.
Cubs starter Jon Lester held the Dodgers scoreless until the fifth before Culberson led off with a double and later scored on Turner's ground-ball single to right.
When Cody Bellinger followed with a walk, increasing Lester's pitch count to 103, Maddon removed Lester, who gave up a run on three hits in 4 2/3 innings.
"I know we'll be fine," Maddon said of his team's state of mind. "We'll get a good day's rest tomorrow and come out and play our game on Tuesday. Listen, we lost two tough games here, very difficult games. I thought we represented ourselves well, we just did not get the hits. That's been pretty much the motif this entire postseason."
NOTES: After an off day, Dodgers RHP Yu Darvish is scheduled to oppose Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks in Game 3 on Tuesday at Wrigley Field. ... The Dodgers' lineup for Game 2 was exactly the same as Game 1, other than the starting pitcher. The Cubs' only change was OF Jason Hayward in the lineup and OF Kyle Schwarber on the bench. ... Cubs 2B Javier Baez went 0-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base, leaving him 0-for-19 with eight strikeouts in the postseason. ... Dodgers 3B Justin Turner is 9-for-21 (.429) with two homers and 10 RBIs in five games during this year's postseason. ... Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo is 0-for-14 in his past four postseason games.
Updated October 16, 2017