Cubs overcome flaws for 2-1 victory over Nationals and 2-1 NLDS lead

Cubs 2 Nationals 1

CHICAGO — A calmness persisted in the Cubs’ dugout Monday despite four errors, no hits for 6 1/3 innings and a baserunning gaffe.

“When you make mistakes as a team, the mantra is ‘So what? Now what?’ ” Ben Zobrist said.

The Cubs were able to overcome their mistakes with superb defensive plays and timely hitting that brought them one step closer to advancing beyond the National League Division Series.

Anthony Rizzo’s bloop single with two outs in the eighth inning provided the winning touch as Cubs rallied to beat the Nationals 2-1 to take a 2-1 lead in this best-of-five NLDS.

They hope to clinch the series Tuesday when Jake Arrieta, making his first start since Sept. 26 because of lingering discomfort in his right hamstring, opposes Tanner Roark.

“We know that having our home crowd behind us at Wrigley (is important),” Zobrist said. “We anticipate it being an exciting environment.”

The press box rocked after pinch-hitter Albert Almora Jr. singled to score Zobrist with the tying run in the seventh, and a crowd of 42,445 paused briefly before erupting when Rizzo’s bloop fell between three defenders to score pinch-runner Leonys Martin with the winning run.

Television cameras caught Rizzo screaming “respect me, respect me” after Nationals manager Dusty Baker summoned left-hander Oliver Perez to pitch to Rizzo with first base open instead of walking Rizzo and using Ryan Madson to pitch to Willson Contreras.

“I want to make guys pay,” Rizzo said.

Said Baker: “I don’t care. I would have screamed, too.”

Rizzo and his teammates were elated after overcoming Max Scherzer’s no-hit bid. The Nationals ace was pulled after allowing a double to Zobrist on his 98th pitch in his first appearance since tweaking his right hamstring on Sept. 30.

Almora was happy to contribute and take the attention off teammate Kyle Schwarber, who dropped a Daniel Murphy fly near the left field foul line and booted the carom that allowed Murphy to advance to third and subsequently score the game’s first run on Ryan Zimmerman’s double in the seventh.

“I did it for the whole team, but more for (Jose) Quintana and Schwarber, to help them in that situation,” Almora said.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon pulled Quintana after Schwarber’s twin gaffes despite his only allowing two hits. Zimmerman immediately smacked a double off Pedro Strop to give the Nationals their only lead.

During the pitching change, Schwarber walked toward center and received support from fellow outfielders Jon Jay and Jason Heyward.

“It’s a tough spot, and we know he wants to come through,” Heyward said. “We all do.”

Both Heyward and Jay had made sterling defensive plays earlier.

During their 17-5 run that started after the Brewers swept them three games in September, the Cubs have spoken openly about their resiliency and confidence that started when they overcame a 3-1 deficit to win the 2016 World Series.

Those traits have persisted in their victories in games the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg and Scherzer started. Each of them flirted with no-hit bids entering the sixth inning of their respective starts.

Monday’s triumph was more challenging because of the four errors (Quintana, Zobrist and Schwarber’s two) — equaling their most in a postseason game since Game 2 of the 2008 NLDS against the Dodgers.

“It really does say a lot about us,” Kris Bryant said. “We’re not going to get down if things aren’t going our way early. There’s just something about this team.

“We turn it on later in games. It has been pretty special to be a part of these two wins.”

Just Posted

WATCH: Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off 2018 dancers revealed

In partnership with 2019 Canada Winter Games

Local haunted house offers a chilling Halloween experience

Chad and Jarita Carlson’s annual venture also supports the Lacombe Food Bank

Local church welcomes LGBTQ community

Gaetz Memorial United Church declares itself an Affirming Ministry

At mid-mandate and with extra cash, Liberals to chart fiscal course toward 2019

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government, right at the midpoint of its mandate,… Continue reading

Voter turnout down in this election

The voter turnout was estimated to be about 17 per cent, down from previous election

WATCH: A magical Harry Potter weekend in downtown Red Deer

Wizards, witches and muggles are flocking to downtown Red Deer to celebrate… Continue reading

Jason Kenney will be in Red Deer on Monday

The UCP candidate is hosting a series of town hall

Sylvan’s talent on display for fundraising show

Sylvan Lake Refugee Project is hosting Sylvan’s Got Talent Nov. 3

B.C. ice rink where 3 people died remains closed due to safety concerns

FERNIE, B.C. — Residents who were forced from their homes because of… Continue reading

Trudeau condemns appointment of Mugabe as WHO ambassador

EDMONTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the appointment of Zimbabwe President… Continue reading

Friday Oct. 21: Winning Lotto Numbers

Friday, October 20, 2017 LOTTO MAX Winning Numbers 1 4 12 27… Continue reading

New northbound Hwy 2 lanes at Gaetz Avenue to open this Sunday

Drivers heading north through Red Deer on Hwy 2 will have a… Continue reading

Sockey Night at Saturday’s Rebels game

United Way Central Alberta is determined to provide warm feet for all… Continue reading

Canadian planet hunter seeking alien life

‘The shifting line of what is crazy’ says Toronto-born astrophysicist

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month