Anthony Rizzo blooped a tiebreaking single into left field with two outs in the eighth and the Cubs overcame Max Scherzer's brilliant performance to beat the Washington Nationals 2-1 on Monday for a 2-1 lead in their NL Division Series.
The Nationals had a base open with Rizzo coming to the plate and pinch runner Leonys Martin on second, but manager Dusty Baker elected to pitch to the slugger with Willson Conteras on-deck. Oliver Perez came in and Rizzo looped his first pitch into shallow left-center, finding a patch of grass between three Washington fielders.
Rizzo stumbled after he took a big turn around first and was tagged out to end the inning, but he didn't seem to care too much, demanding veneration as the Cubs came out of the dugout for the ninth.
Scherzer was dominant in his return from a right hamstring injury, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh. But just like in Game 1, when Chicago was held hitless into the sixth by Stephen Strasburg, the World Series champion Cubs showed off their resilience on the way to a stirring victory.
Chicago committed four errors, including two by left fielder Kyle Schwarber on one ugly play, and Jason Heyward also made an uncharacteristic baserunning mistake.
But the Cubs got a huge pinch-hit RBI single from Albert Almora Jr. and a solid pitching performance from Jose Quintana in the return of postseason baseball to Wrigley after last year's World Series ended in Cleveland.
After Rizzo's big hit, All-Star Wade Davis retired three in a row for his second save of the series.
Game 4 of the best-of-five series is Tuesday. Jake Arrieta returns from his own hamstring injury for the Cubs, while Tanner Roark gets the ball for the Nationals.
Roark is from Wilmington, Illinois, about 60 miles south of Chicago, and grew up rooting for the Cubs.
>>Angels Add RHP Pena From Cubs
The Los Angeles Angels have acquired right-handed reliever Felix Pena from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for cash or a player to be named later.
The Angels announced the deal Monday for Diaz, who was designated for assignment by Chicago last week.
Los Angeles also designated left-hander Jason Gurka for assignment.
Diaz had a 4.98 ERA in 36 appearances with the Cubs over the past two seasons. The Dominican prospect showed talent and a 98-mph fastball, but gave up eight homers this season.
Angels general manager Billy Eppler has demonstrated a knack for discovering capable pitchers on other teams' scrap heaps. He added relievers Blake Parker, Yusmeiro Petit, David Hernandez and Bud Norris and starter Parker Bridwell at minimal expense in the last year alone.