Cubs beat Nationals 2-1 in NLDS Game 3, lead series 2-1

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Fans were ecstatic when the Cubs beat the Washington Nationals 2-1 at home at Wrigley Field in Game 3 of the National League Division Series. (WLS)

The Chicago Cubs beat the Washington Nationals 2-1 at home at Wrigley Field in Game 3 of the National League Division Series, taking a series lead of 2-1.

Anthony Rizzo looped a tiebreaking single with two outs in the eighth inning and the Cubs overcame Max Scherzer's brilliant performance to beat the Nationals.

Scherzer was dominant in his return from a right hamstring injury, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh. But just like in Game 1, when Chicago was held hitless into the sixth by Stephen Strasburg, the World Series champion Cubs showed off their resilience on the way to a stirring victory.

Game 4 of the best-of-five series is Tuesday. Jake Arrieta returns from his own hamstring injury for the Cubs, while Tanner Roark gets the ball for the Nationals.

Chicago committed four errors, including two by left fielder Kyle Schwarber on one ugly play, and Rizzo and Jason Heyward each made uncharacteristic baserunning mistakes. But the Cubs got a huge pinch-hit RBI single from Albert Almora Jr. and a solid pitching performance from Jose Quintana in the return of postseason baseball to Wrigley Field after last year's World Series ended in Cleveland.

With pinch-runner Leonys Martin on second in the eighth, Rizzo hit a blooper to left off Oliver Perez that found a patch of outfield grass between three Washington fielders. Rizzo stumbled after he took a big turn around first and was tagged out to end the inning, but he didn't seem to care too much, yelling and screaming as the Cubs came out of the dugout for the ninth.

All-Star Wade Davis then retired three in a row for his second save of the series. Jayson Werth popped out to Rizzo to end the game.

Scherzer struck out seven and walked three before he was pulled after Ben Zobrist doubled to left-center on his 98th pitch for Chicago's first hit with one out in the seventh. With Washington clinging to a 1-0 lead, Nationals manager Dusty Baker opted for left-hander Sammy Solis, who had a 5.88 ERA during the regular season, and Cubs manager Joe Maddon countered by sending Almora to hit for the lefty-batting Schwarber.

Mark this one down for Maddon, who drew some criticism after he allowed Carl Edwards Jr. to pitch to Bryce Harper in the eighth in Game 2 and the slugger responded with a two-run homer.

Almora lined a 3-2 pitch into left-center for his first career postseason hit in 15 at-bats. Almora yelled and pounded his chest after rounding first and the crowd of 42,445 cheered wildly.

Heyward followed with another base hit, but was inexplicably doubled off first on Addison Russell's fly ball to a hustling Michael A. Taylor in center, ending the inning.

While Scherzer mowed down the Cubs, Quintana worked on his own gem in his first career playoff appearance. Helped by terrific running grabs by Heyward in right and Jon Jay in center, the veteran left-hander carried a two-hit shutout into the sixth.

With two outs in the inning, Daniel Murphy lofted a fly ball to left that Schwarber dropped and then flubbed again when he tried to pick it up. The two errors put Murphy on third, and Maddon was booed as he went to the mound to pull Quintana in favor of Pedro Strop.

Ryan Zimmerman followed with an RBI double into the gap in right-center, giving Washington the lead. The All-Star slugger also had one of the big blows in Game 2, hitting a tiebreaking three-run homer in the Nationals' 6-3 victory.

Schwarber's costly play was part of a strange day in the field for the Cubs. Quintana and Zobrist also committed an error, but Russell made a spectacular diving stop on Taylor's grounder to shortstop in the seventh and Zobrist robbed Trea Turner of a hit with a solid play at second in the eighth.


Roark is from Wilmington, Illinois, about 60 miles south of Chicago, and grew up rooting for the Cubs. The 31-year-old right-hander is 3-1 with a 3.24 ERA in five career games at Wrigley Field. "It's pretty surreal to pitch in Wrigley, and just the history that they have here and everything," he said. "It's very exciting and I'm anxious to get out there."

Arrieta hasn't pitched in a game since he lasted just three innings in a loss at St. Louis on Sept. 26. But he said he is 100 percent for his eighth career playoff start. "From this point on, it seems like it's going to be a non-issue for us now," he said.


Fans leaving the Friendly Confines couldn't help but feel the magic as they walked beneath the Wrigley marquee, alight with their favorite two words: "CUBS WIN."

"Yup, that's the Cubs. That's the Cubbies. They pull it out when they need to pull it out," said John Schmaus, fan.

"Unbelievable. They kept us guessing that entire game. No hits in the sixth inning. It was unbelievable. That was a lot of fun," said Tim Wodzisz, Cubs fan.

At Murphy's Beachers the moment of victory meant bottoms up. Fans are still catching their breath.

"It's kind of hard to watch because you get so nervous. You have to go to the bathroom or you have to walk around, maybe take a break," said fan Jennifer Phelan.

The tight security on display Monday will be back Tuesday, when fans expect a clinch. The game will start at 4:38 p.m.

"Oh, we're winning tomorrow. This was a do-or-die day. Tomorrow we're taking it home all the way. I guarantee that. Take it to the bank," said Roberto Cruz, Cubs fan.


Bill Murray sings "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh inning stretch in Game 3 of the National League Division Series between the Cubs and the Nationals.

Chicago police and private security were stretched thin with the Cubs game, Columbus Day Parade and the Bears game Monday.

Heavily armed police roamed the streets outside Wrigley Field, and huge city plow trucks moved into place before game time to block traffic around the ballpark. Officers on horseback lined Clark Street by Addison.

Security is always tight around Wrigley Field, especially for postseason games, but Monday's presence is even greater than most fans remember. Police even met with operators of bars around the ballpark to review security.

As fans roll out in force at Wrigley, police and emergency responders kept a watchful eye on the ballpark's surroundings.

"It's always scary nowadays. You never know what's going to happen," said Tim Mayer, who came to Wrigley from Indiana.

Like the postseason last year, expect long lines for metal detectors before first pitch. Bags will be checked and cameras and cell phones will be removed for screenings.

Streets around Wrigley were closed to traffic starting around 1 p.m., and there are parking restrictions.

"They're shutting down my street. We had to move our car today," said Cubs fan Catie Gruenwald.

Some fans took advantage of the new Park at Wrigley before the game. And on what looks to be an epic sports day in Chicago history some fans were already planning on heading straight to Soldier Field for the Bears game after the Cubs.

Cubs fan David Hayes said he's way more concerned about securing a ticket for Monday's playoff game than security. He was first in line at the box office, bright and early Monday morning.

Hayes is doing the right thing buying from an authorized vendor, with the Better Business Bureau and warning against ticket scams. The BBB advises to purchase tickets from the venue, look up information about your seller before buying, only buying from trusted vendors, know the refund policy and use payment methods that come with protections. For more information, visit

This is the first playoff game at home this year, so fans are stocking up on the shirts at the official Cubs store inside the Park at Wrigley.


The Chicago Cubs have released their lineup for Game 3.

1. Jon Jay, CF
2. Kris Bryant, 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Willson Contreras, C
5. Ben Zobrist, 2B
6. Kyle Schwarber, LF
7. Jason Heyward, RF
8. Addison Russell, SS
9. Jose Quintana, P

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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sportsChicago CubsCubsbaseballMLBWashington Nationalswrigley fieldChicago BearssecurityChicagoWrigleyville
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