LOS ANGELES – Adrian González is angry that he was called out at the plate during the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 10-2 defeat to the Chicago Cubs, and he let the world know via Twitter.
“Somehow this is an out. #NLCS Take series lead tomorrow! Got to do this. Us against the world,” the Mexican-American slugger tweeted just minutes after the game ended Wednesday night.
The game was scoreless in the second inning when González was ruled out trying to score from second on Andrew Toles’ two-out single to right field. The Dodgers challenged the call, and TV replays showed González was safe.
But the official at Major League Baseball headquarters in New York upheld the call. It left González stewing.
"I knew I was safe," he told reporters after the game. "We've got plenty of still frames that prove I was safe. Unfortunately it turned into a trial, and they said there was not enough evidence."
While another run wouldn't have made much difference in the 10-3 game – in which Julio Urias, the youngest pitcher in big league history to start a postseason game, took his first playoff loss – González believed his run, which would have put the Dodgers up 1-0, would have given Urias a cushion in a high-pressure situation.
"It completely changes his way of pitching," González said. "Now he gets one guy on base, and he's trying not to let that one run score, where if we've got that lead, he feels more comfortable. He attacks it a bit more. It changes everything. One little thing can change the outcome."
Instead, the Chicago Cubs broke the game open with four runs in the fourth inning, and the Dodgers squandered a chance to take control of this series and lost their opportunity to win the pennant at home.
"I felt comfortable in that situation, but I just didn't get the results," Urias said through a translator.
Game 5 is Thursday at Dodger Stadium, with Kenta Maeda scheduled to pitch against Cubs lefty Jon Lester. Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts reiterated he won't start ace Clayton Kershaw on short rest this time, putting the three-time Cy Young Award winner in line for Game 6 on Saturday night at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Roberts said Kershaw was eager to pitch, but last "isn't a deciding game. It's not an elimination game. And I think the accumulation of his usage over the last 10 days plays a factor in our decision."
Urias was in fine shape until the fourth inning, and so were the Dodgers' plans to keep a powerful Chicago lineup off the board. The left-hander from Mexico didn't pitch much down the stretch for the NL West champions, who gave him a postseason start with the hope he could realize his ample potential in October.
Urias walked two Cubs in the first three innings, but otherwise kept them mired in their slump — until Ben Zobrist led off the fourth with a clever bunt single. Urias acknowledged the bunt caught him off guard.
"That's baseball," he said. "Even if it's a bad hit, it's a hit. That's how they scored their runs."
While Urias didn't finish strong, the Dodgers' shaky defense played a big role in the collapse as well. Los Angeles hadn't made four errors in a playoff game since the 1974 NLCS, but Toles' throwing error on Willson Contreras' soft single to left field allowed Zobrist to easily score the Cubs' first run since Game 1.
"We played a very sloppy game overall," González said. "Sometimes that happens. Obviously that was a big reason we lost today, but we're confident we'll play better."
Down 5-0 in the fifth, the Dodgers still had a chance to get back in it. They loaded the bases against reliever Mike Montgomery, who accidentally deflected Justin Turner's comebacker into shallow left field for a two-run single.
But González and Kike Hernández failed to reach base, and the Cubs turned it into a laugher moments later with a five-run sixth. The Dodgers' defense chipped in again, with Hernández and Joc Pederson making throwing errors while the Cubs batted around.
Thousands of Dodgers fans hit the freeways early, unwilling to watch a healthy contingent of Cubs rooters celebrate.
Now the NLCS is down to a best-of-three, with the Dodgers still two wins from their first pennant since 1988, and the AL champion Cleveland Indians waiting for a World Series opponent next week.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.