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Cubs hit six homers to take 2-1 NLDS lead

CHICAGO -- On a rare off night for Jake Arrieta, the Cubs bashed their way to the brink of the NLCS and a spot in the record book.

Rookies Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber connected as the Cubs set a postseason mark with six home runs and beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 8-6, last night for a 2-1 lead in their Division Series.

In the first playoff game at Wrigley Field in seven years, Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Dexter Fowler also went deep for Chicago, which held a share of the previous postseason record with five homers in NLCS Game 1 in 1984.

"Pretty impressive," manager Joe Maddon said. "You know, I know the wind was blowing out -- we'll concede that -- but most of them were properly struck. We are definitely capable of that."

The Cardinals led the majors with 100 victories this season, but if the Cubs win Game 4 this afternoon, they will advance to the NLCS for the first time in 12 years. The Cubs' Jason Hammel will face the Cards' John Lackey.

Jason Heyward and Stephen Piscotty homered for St. Louis, which got to Arrieta for four runs in his worst start in four months. Arrieta is 18-1 with a 1.00 ERA in his last 22 starts dating to June 21, but he was far from his usual dominant self. He hadn't allowed more than three runs in a game since a June 16 loss to Cleveland.

Said Castro, "Today we got his back -- just like he always got our backs." -- AP

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