Darvish, Taylor put Dodgers a win away from World Series

The Associated Press

CHICAGO — The Los Angeles Dodgers have a tough lineup, a talented pitching staff and a manager making all the right moves.

Yup, it’s beginning to look a lot like 1988.

Yu Darvish pitched sparkling ball into the seventh inning, Chris Taylor homered again and the Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Tuesday to open a 3-0 lead in the National League Championship Series.

Andre Ethier also went deep and Taylor added an RBI triple in the fifth as Los Angeles improved to 6-0 this postseason, setting a franchise record for consecutive playoff wins.

Looking for a four-game sweep and their 22nd pennant, the Dodgers will send Alex Wood to the mound today at Wrigley Field with a chance to reach the World Series for the first time since Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda managed Kirk Gibson, Orel Hershiser and Co. to the club’s last championship 29 years ago.

Jake Arrieta, eligible for free agency after the season, pitches for the Cubs in what could be his final start with the team.

A return to Wrigley couldn’t get the Cubs back on track after a rough stay in Los Angeles. Chicago manager Joe Maddon juggled his lineup, inserting Kyle Schwarber into the No. 2 slot and benching slumping second baseman Javier Baez, but the defending World Series champions were shut down by another Dodgers starter and more stellar relief from the NL West champions.

“I really didn’t change much approach-wise from first inning until the end of the game,” Darvish said through a translator. “I just kept pitching the same way.”

The Cubs also hurt themselves with a couple of big mistakes. Carl Edwards Jr. walked Darvish on four pitches with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth. A passed ball brought home another run in the eighth.

Darvish allowed six hits, including Schwarber’s first-inning homer, in his second career playoff win — both this year. He struck out seven and walked one.

Tony Watson got two outs, Brandon Morrow worked the eighth and Kenley Jansen closed it out after Ross Stripling gave up two hits in the ninth. With manager Dave Roberts pushing the right buttons, Los Angeles’ bullpen has yet to allow a run in the series.

The Cubs finished with eight hits, one more than in the first two games combined.

“We had a chance obviously, early,” Maddon said. “We hit some balls well early in the game, and then (Darvish) settled in.”