CHICAGO — Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish flipped his bat as if he had bounced a towering grand slam off the historic old scoreboard that presides over centerfield here. He did no such thing, of course.
No matter, because the bases-loaded walk he drew in a 6-1 triumph over the Cubs on Tuesday night signified the one-sidedness of this National League Championship Series. The Dodgers lead the series three games to none, just one victory from their first pennant since 1988.
Only one team — the 2004 Red Sox against the Yankees — has ever climbed back from such a hole in the postseason. Barring a repeat of history, the Cubs’ reign as world champions will last one year after waiting for 108.
“I just wanted to try to do something,” Darvish said. “Draw a walk or maybe get hit by pitch, anything just to score runs.”
But in a way, Darvish did much more, his odd walk serving as a backbreaker for a team that has been flat since outlasting the Nationals in the first round.
“No, no, not at all,” said Kyle Schwarber, who hit a solo shot in the first for his team’s only run. “I shut you down right there. We’re not running out of gas at all.”
The Dodgers improved to 6-0 in the postseason. They led 3-1 in the sixth when Darvish hit for himself, a baffling move by manager Dave Roberts, who until Tuesday night had aggressively used his bullpen.
But Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr. issued a four-pitch walk that stunned the 41,871 fans at Wrigley Field.
“We’re all looking for a reason,” Edwards said as he struggled to explain his lapse. “He wasn’t handpicked out of a bush or nothing. We’re here for a reason. For me, it’s my job to go out there and not give up nothing. But unfortunately, I gave up a walk and an RBI.”
Dodgers centerfielder Chris Taylor knocked in a pair of runs, Darvish held the Cubs to one run in 6 1⁄3 innings, and the Dodgers’ bullpen continued its postseason domination. The Cubs went 0-for-29 against Los Angeles relievers until Alex Avila’s single off Russ Stripling to begin the ninth.
Kyle Schwarber homered in the first. But that’s all the Cubs could muster in what has been a replay of the 2015 NLCS, a four-game sweep to the Mets, who seized control with dominant pitching. The Cubs have scored four runs in three games.
Starting for the first time in the postseason, Andre Ethier sent a solo shot over the rightfield fence in the second inning off Kyle Hendricks to tie the game, 1-1.
Taylor followed in the third with a solo homer, an impressive blast that landed on the batters’ eye roof in centerfield to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. He struck again in the fifth, putting the Cubs in a 3-1 hole when he rifled a triple that touched the chalk of the leftfield line and rolled into the corner.
Then came the madness in the sixth despite Roberts’ unorthodox decision to let Darvish hit for himself.
Yasiel Puig began the sixth by reaching on an error. Ethier followed with a single, enough for Maddon to pull Hendricks for Edwards, who has endured a shaky postseason. Edwards got Utley to ground out, walked Austin Barnes to load the bases then retired Joc Pederson on a flyout to right.
With Darvish’s spot due up, Former Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson grabbed a bat. But at the last second, Roberts changed his mind, leaving Darvish to drag his lightly used bat and career .059 average to the plate.
Edwards obliged with a meltdown. Even though Darvish offered no indication of actually taking a hack, the Cubs reliever missed the strike zone four straight times. Puig jogged in. By then, resignation swept over a shocked Wrigley Field, its patrons feeling their first real cold tinge of winter.
“It was weird, just because like I said, I looked over there and saw a pinch hitter and [Darvish] comes up,” Edwards said. “But it happens. Do I wish I could throw three straight pitches down the middle? Of course. But it didn’t happen.”