CHICAGO -- It wasn't Daniel Murphy this time, but the Mets, as they have in every game of this National League Championship Series, did some more first-inning scoring against the Cubs on Wednesday. The Mets won the game, 8-3, to clinch their fifth NL pennant and advance to the World Series for the first time since 2000.
Already needing a win to stave off elimination, the Cubs trailed 4-0 before even coming to bat in Game 4. A two-out, two-strike, three-run homer from Lucas Duda silenced what had been a rowdy Wrigley Field crowd hopeful of seeing their hometown Cubs beat the Mets for the first time this postseason.
The Cubs didn't have a lead at any point in the NLCS.
Curtis Granderson opened the game with a single off Cubs starter Jason Hammel, who later retired Murphy as the inning's second out before issuing a walk to Yoenis Cespedes. Duda laid off a borderline 2-2 pitch before he crushed a 94-mph fastball. Statcast™ tracked the speed off the bat at 107 mph and the ball was projected to travel 420 feet.
Duda had been 3-for-24 this postseason.
Two pitches later, Travis d'Arnaud launched his third postseason home run. The Mets ended up sending nine batters to the plate in the inning while making Hammel throw 38 pitches. The Cubs had Travis Wood warming up before the inning closed.
Dating back to the NL Division Series, the Mets have scored at least one first-inning run in five consecutive games for a total of 10 runs. It was exactly what Cubs manager Joe Maddon, speaking before Game 4, identified as one of the primary reasons the Cubs have garnered little traction in this series.
"The biggest thing is you've got to get the other team back on their heels a little bit," Maddon said. "We've not been able to do that."