Julio Urias cruised through three hitless innings to begin Game 4 of the NL Championship Series. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ 20-year-old rookie starter seemed to be thriving under the spotlight.
Then the lights went out for Urias and the Dodgers.
In one miserable night at Chavez Ravine, they squandered a chance to take control of this series and lost the opportunity to clinch the pennant at home.
The Chicago Cubs ended their 21-inning scoreless streak with a four-run fourth against Urias. The youngest pitcher in big league history to start a postseason game took his first playoff loss in the Dodgers’ 10-2 defeat Wednesday.
Urias was in fine shape until the fourth, and so were the Dodgers’ plans to keep a powerful Chicago lineup off the board. The left-hander from Mexico didn’t pitch much down the stretch for the NL West champions, who gave him a postseason start with the hope he could realize his ample potential in October.
Urias walked two Cubs in the first three innings, but otherwise kept them mired in their slump — until Ben Zobrist led off the fourth with a clever bunt single. Two more singles and an RBI groundout later, Addison Russell’s first homer of the postseason put the Cubs up 4-0 and well on their way to a series-tying win.
While Urias didn’t finish strong, the Dodgers’ shaky defense played a big role in the collapse as well. Los Angeles hadn’t made four errors in a playoff game since the 1974 NLCS, but Andrew Toles’ throwing error on Willson Contreras’ soft single to left field allowed Zobrist to easily score the Cubs’ first run since Game 1.
Down 5-0 in the fifth, the Dodgers still had a chance to get back in it. They loaded the bases against reliever Mike Montgomery, who accidentally deflected Justin Turner’s comebacker into shallow left field for a two-run single.
But Adrian Gonzalez and Kike Hernandez failed to reach base, and the Cubs turned it into a laugher moments later with a five-run sixth. The Dodgers’ defense chipped in again, with Hernandez and Joc Pederson making throwing errors while the Cubs batted around .
Thousands of Dodgers fans hit the freeways early, unwilling to watch a healthy contingent of Cubs rooters celebrate.
The NLCS is down to a best-of-three, with the Dodgers still two wins from their first pennant since 1988, and the Cleveland Indians waiting for an opponent in the World Series next week.