CHICAGO -- Aroldis Chapman may have given up a game-tying two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez in the eighth inning on Saturday night, but there's no one else Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted in that situation, and he believes the lefty actually saved the game.
"If you look at it retrospectively, the reason we won that game was because of Chapman," Maddon said before Sunday night's 1-0 loss to the Dodgers. "Even though he gave up two runs, he didn't give up any more than that."
Chapman entered with the bases loaded and struck out Corey Seager and Yasiel Puig before Gonzalez's hit. The Cubs responded when Miguel Montero belted a pinch-hit grand slam in the Chicago half of the eighth en route to an 8-4 victory in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series.
Chapman has said he prefers coming into the game with no one on base, and he did not fare well in Game 3 of the NL Division Series against the Giants when he was called on with two on in the eighth.
"We didn't do a good enough job getting him at least one or two outs in that inning," Maddon said of Saturday's outing. "I put him in a really bad spot. When you strike out Seager and Puig, you're doing a pretty good job -- you're doing an outstanding job, actually.
"You can't fault him at all," Maddon said. "I need to put him in a better spot, that's what it comes down to."
As the NLCS progresses, Maddon said he will look for ways to use Chapman and minimize the number of outs for which he's needed. Chapman threw 17 pitches on Saturday, all fastballs. Gonzalez connected on a 102-mph heater.
"He blew it by Seager, he blew it by Puig. He put the ball where Gonzalez could reach it," Maddon said. "I have no qualms with Chappy throwing fastballs. ... I put him in an impossible situation. There's no other person to put in that situation."
• Montero will be matched up with starter Jake Arrieta on Tuesday in Game 3 of the NLCS. The catcher thought he was out of work when the Cubs opted to pair rookie Willson Contreras with the right-hander during the regular season.
"For [David] Ross, it's a little bit easier," Montero said of his role compared to the other Cubs catchers. "He knows if [Jon] Lester is pitching, he knows he's in there. If Arrieta is pitching and I'm not in there, when am I going to be in there? So, it was roll the dice. Am I playing today? Am I playing tomorrow? I don't know when to get ready."
Maddon said they simply wanted Contreras to catch Arrieta for experience.
"It wasn't a lack of confidence in [Montero]," Maddon said.
• After allowing an RBI double to Andrew Toles in the ninth inning Saturday, Hector Rondon has been charged with two runs on three hits in 2 2/3 frames over four games in the postseason, and the right-hander hasn't looked as sharp. He was on the disabled list from Aug. 19 to Sept. 6 with a strained right triceps.
"He's coming off the injury, and we've tried to get him out there as much as we can," Maddon said. "There's the good and the bad -- they are rested, but maybe aren't as sharp as they could've been."
After Saturday's game, Rondon admitted he needs to mix up his pitches more.
"I have to use my breaking pitch more early in the count," Rondon said. "We threw a lot of fastballs [to the Dodgers] and they got us, they got Chappy and me. We have to figure out how to pitch them. Next time, I'll try to mix it a little more."
• This is Dodgers manager Dave Roberts' first postseason, and he's going to have to deal with ticket requests and the media and the attention. Did Maddon have any advice? The Cubs' skipper said all the time he spent in the Minor Leagues has helped him now, beginning with his job as a roving instructor.
"When you're the rover, you get to observe a lot," Maddon said. "When you're managing in the Minor Leagues, you get to try a lot of different things. Because if it doesn't work, there's no social media, nobody is checking you out in Midland vs. San Antonio, when you want to try your five-man infield, nobody sees it. ... A lot of where I'm at right now, I want to believe is attributable to all those things I did back then that nobody ever talks about, nobody ever sees."
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.