Cubs batter Dodgers, 8-4, to take series lead

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Chicago Cubs are one win away from their first World Series berth in 71 years.

The Cubs head back to Chicago with a three-games-to-two lead in the NL Championship Series following an 8-4 rout of the Dodgers in Los Angeles. The game was tied 1-1 in the sixth until Addison Russell blasted a two-run homer to center field off losing pitcher Joe Blanton. Javier Baez broke the game open with a three-run double in the eighth to put the Cubs in front, 8-1.

The Cubs also received a strong pitching performance from Jon Lester, who limited the Dodgers to a run and five hits while striking out six over seven innings.

Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda (mah-AY’-dah) couldn’t get out of the fourth inning, charged with one run and three hits.

Blanton has already served up three home runs in the series, including a tiebreaking grand slam by Miguel Montero in Game 1.

Los Angeles didn’t produce much offense until the Cubbies built an 8-1 lead.

Chicago has scored 18 runs over the last two games after being shutout in the previous two contests. The Cubs have scored at least eight runs in all three of their victories.

Game 6 is Saturday at Wrigley Field. The Dodgers will go with ace Clayton Kershaw, who blanked Chicago over seven innings in Game 2. Kershaw will be opposed by ERA champion Kyle Hendricks as the Cubs try to wrap up their first trip to the Fall Classic since the Truman administration.

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