Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton Kershaw, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early and the Cubs won their first pennant since 1945, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.
All-everything Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the NLCS MVP award. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.
The Cubs took their 17th pennant. They had not earned a World Series trip since winning a doubleheader opener 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29, 1945, to clinch the pennant on the next-to-last day of the season.
“We’re too young. We don’t care about it,” star slugger Kris Bryant said. “We don’t look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We’re enjoying it and our work’s just getting started.”
The crowd joined in, chanting and serenading their team — a Cubs team, in fact, that lost 101 games as recently as 2012.
“Chicago!” shouted popular backup catcher David Ross.
The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games.
And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.
In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn’t allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the final three games of the NLCS to Florida, punctuated with a Game 6 defeat when fan Steve Bartman deflected a foul ball.
This time, no such ill luck.
Bryant had an RBI single and scored in a two-run first. Dexter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one.
Contreras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo continued his resurgence with a solo drive in the fifth.
They had more to cheer when left fielder Andrew Toles dropped Rizzo’s fly, putting runners on second and third, and Ben Zobrist made it 2-0 a sacrifice fly.