CHICAGO, Ill. — Kyle Hendricks, a member of the Dartmouth Class of 2012, defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in game six of the National League Championship Series on Saturday night at Wrigley Field, clinching the first pennant for the Chicago Cubs in 71 years.
The ERA leader (2.13) for Major League Baseball during the 2016 season, Hendricks dazzled in his second showdown with three-time NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. The right-hander allowed just three Dodgers to reach base — two on singles, the other on an error — while striking out six with nary a walk as he made quick work of the Los Angeles lineup.
The first batter of the game, Andrew Toles, laced a single past a diving Javier Baez at second base into right field on the very first pitch. But Hendricks immediately induced a double play grounder on his next offering. In the bottom half of the frame, the Cub offense provided him with two runs on an RBI single by Kris Bryant and a sacrifice fly courtesy of Ben Zobrist.
With one out In the top of the second, Josh Reddick reached on an error, only to get picked off to end the inning. Hendricks proceeded to retire the side in order for the next five innings, eventually setting down 17 consecutive Dodgers, as Chicago tacked on three more runs, including solo homers by Willson Contreras and Anthony Rizzo.
Hendricks got the first out in the eighth before yielding a one-out single, causing Cub manager Joe Maddon to emerge from the dugout to summon closer Aroldis Chapman from the bullpen. The Cub faithful on hand — all 42,386 in the crowd — booed their displeasure at Hendricks’ removal, then offered a standing ovation to the 26-year old from San Juan Capistrano, California, as he returned to the dugout. Chapman quickly whipped up a double play, then recorded the final three outs as well to complete the victory and ignite a frenzy in the stadium.
As a freshman at Dartmouth in 2009, Hendricks won the clinching game of another posteason series. Starting the final game of the best-of-three Ivy League Championship Series, he pitched 7.1 innings of scoreless ball, just as he did for the Cubs, as Dartmouth downed Cornell, 10-0, to advance to their first NCAA Regional in 22 years.
Chicago advances to the World Series to take on the American League champions, the Cleveland Indians. Both teams have the longest droughts since last winning the World Series in their respective leagues — the Indians 68 years (1948) and the Cubs 108 (1908). Game one will take place in Cleveland on Tuesday, Oct. 25 with the first pitch scheduled for 8:08 p.m. Hendricks will likely take the mound again to start the third game back at Wrigley Field on Friday, Oct. 28 at 8:08 p.m.