Cubs let down by defense on tough plays

Bryant can't make throw in time; Schwarber can't haul in fly ball in seventh

Cubs let down by defense on tough plays

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon likes to talk about "jug runs," as in add-on runs that help a team go for the jugular and secure a win. The Mets did just that to the Cubs in the seventh inning of Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Tuesday night, a 5-2 Chicago loss.

New York led, 3-2, with one out in the seventh when David Wright doubled. Red-hot Daniel Murphy, who had already homered in the third, then hit a chopper to third baseman Kris Bryant, who appeared to double-clutch before throwing. Murphy was safe with an infield hit and Wright was at third.

• Shop for Cubs postseason gear

Game Date Matchup
Gm 1 Oct. 17 NYM 4, CHC 2
Gm 2 Oct. 18 NYM 4, CHC 1
Gm 3 Oct. 20 NYM 5, CHC 2
Gm 4 Oct. 21 NYM 8, CHC 3

Yoenis Cespedes then launched a ball to left that deflected off rookie Kyle Schwarber's glove. Wright scored on the single, and Murphy then tallied on a groundout by Lucas Duda that first baseman Anthony Rizzo fielded before stepping on first for the out and throwing home, but not in time. The Mets led, 5-2, held on for the win and now have a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

"There's two pertinent plays there -- the slow roller to [Bryant], [which] had a lot of spin on it, that Murphy beat out, and then the play off the glove of Schwarber," Maddon said. "[They're] not easy plays. I'm not denigrating the defense at all, tough plays. And that put those two extra runs on the board that made it a little bit more difficult."

Rizzo could've immediately thrown home to get Murphy, but said he had "no regrets" about chosing to step on first base.

"Even if I rush, I come down in the same spot," Rizzo said.

"All these things really become very important," Maddon said. "Chopper to first base, good baserunning on their part, on Murphy's part. They had the edge regarding some of the little things that they did. We have to come back [Wednesday] and bring it back to us."

Murphy scores on Duda's grounder

The Cubs did rally and tied the game at 2 on Jorge Soler's solo homer in the fourth.

"From our perspective, we tied the game up, Jorge's homer to center, big play, and then they go ahead on the ball in the dirt [in the sixth], not so bad," Maddon said. "The slow roller beaten out and the fly ball to left field, those are two big runs that really made it more difficult at the end."

Cespedes' RBI single

Part of the Mets' plan was to put as much pressure on the Cubs as possible.

"The basepaths seem to be one of the biggest places we've been able to do that," Murphy said. "I think as an offense, it's also a testament to how much traffic we've been able to put out there."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.