Defense on display for Giants, Cubs in NLDS

Defense on display for Giants, Cubs in NLDS

CHICAGO -- Defense was front and center in Game 1 of the National League Division Series as the Cubs edged the Giants, 1-0, on Friday night.

Giants starter Johnny Cueto retired the first 10 batters he faced before Kris Bryant lined a ball into the left-field corner to give the Cubs a fourth-inning baserunner. But with the help of second baseman Kelby Tomlinson, who made a diving stop to turn what was nearly an RBI single by Ben Zobrist into the third out, Cueto stranded Bryant at third to keep the game scoreless.

Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 7 CHC 1, SF 0 video
Gm 2 Oct. 8 CHC 5, SF 2 video
Gm 3 Oct. 10 SF 6, CHC, 5 (13) video
Gm 4 Oct. 11 CHC 6, SF 5 video

It was the second defensive gem of the night for the Giants, whose surprise inclusion of Gorkys Hernandez in the lineup offered quick payoff when he robbed Cubs catcher David Ross of an extra-base hit with a third-inning diving catch in left-center.

According to Statcast™, Hernandez covered 91 feet in 4.92 seconds to make the catch. He hadn't traveled that far to make a catch on a ball with less than five seconds of hang time all year. The ball came off Ross' bat with an exit velocity of 94.2 mph and launch angle of 26 degrees.

By then, however, Ross had already done his part to erase a pair of San Francisco baserunners on his own. Though Cubs starter Jon Lester allowed leadoff hits in each of the first three innings, Ross wiped away two of them. He threw out Hernandez trying to swipe second in the opening frame, and, two innings later, picked off Conor Gillaspie as he strayed too far from first while anticipating a Cueto sacrifice.

Ross nabs two baserunners

"David's been great at that play all year," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the pickoff on FS1. "David's just a really good, smart catcher."

Lester then pitched around trouble in the fourth, stranding two runners in scoring position by getting Brandon Crawford to ground out to short.

Jenifer Langosch has been a reporter for since 2007. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.