The NLCS ended the way it started: a Daniel Murphy homerun. However, a left-handed Mets hitter blasted a clutch home run and his name wasn’t Daniel Murphy. Lucas Duda, in the midst of an awful postseason slump, blasted a 3-2 fastball from Cubs starter Justin Hammel over the center field wall in the first inning. The drive set the tone from the Mets, who would pile on more runs and big hits en route to their 8-1 National League Pennant clinching win at Wrigley field.
Stephen Matz: 4.2 Innings, 1 run, 4 hits, 4 strikeouts
Matz was given an early four run lead and did exactly what he needed to do: throw strikes and challenge the Cubs hitters. Matz had a quick shutdown bottom of the first, not allowing the Cubs to respond to the Mets quick strikes in the top of the inning. His first base runner came on a walk in the bottom of the third to David Ross, who was quickly stranded after Dexter Fowler grounded out. Matz didn’t allow a hit until Jorge Soler singled to start the fourth, which was the only inning that the Cubs truly threatened.
Jason Hammel: 1.1 Innings, 5 runs, 4 hits, 1 strikeout, 2 home runs allowed
This was a night that Jason Hammel probably wouldn’t mind forgetting. With a runner on first and two outs in the first, it looked as though the inning would end without much damage, if any. However, the situation quickly changed with a walk to Yoenis Cespedes. Lucas Duda came to the plate, and worked the count to 3-2. With two on and two out, Hammel went after Duda with a fastball that just ran a bit too high and out where Duda could extend his arms. The ball flew 420 feet out into centerfield, and the Mets had a quick three run lead. After getting rocked in the first, Hammel didn’t last much longer.
Where the Game was won:
Duda’s 3-run homer is the easy place to point to, however the Cubs had a rally brewing in the bottom of the fourth. After a leadoff double and a walk, Anthony Rizzo singled up the middle to load the bases with nobody out. Starlin Castro then hit a line drive that was snared by David Wright. Had the liner not been caught, the result most likely would have been a two-run double, making the score 6-2 with runners on second and third with no outs for Kyle Schwarber. However, all the came of the Cubs’ half of the fourth was a single run.
Daniel Murphy continued his postseason dominance, with this fourth home run of the NLCS and seventh of the postseason. His blast set an MLB record with six straight postseason games with a home run.
Line of the night: Lucas Duda
3-4, home run, double, walk and 5 RBIs