CHICAGO -- Manager Joe Maddon likes to talk about the heartbeat, and how important it is to a team's success. Facing elimination, the Cubs collectively tapped their hearts and got just enough hits to keep their season alive.
Jake Arrieta was dominant, Willson Contreras smacked a monster homer, and Javier Baez hit two solo shots to boost the Cubs to a much-needed 3-2 victory Wednesday night over the Dodgers and extend the National League Championship Series at least one more game. The Dodgers, bidding for their first trip to the World Series since 1988, have a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, which continues Thursday at Wrigley Field.
"It was win or go home," Arrieta said. "I had that mindset to do everything in my power to get us to [Game 5]."
The Cubs held a players-only meeting prior to Game 4 in which some of the veterans spoke, including Jason Heyward, who led the inspirational get-together during the rain delay in Game 7 of the World Series last November. Whatever the message was, Chicago now has some hope.
The Dodgers' pitchers, especially the relievers, have stymied the Cubs, and starter Alex Wood had his moments. Despite allowing the three homers, the lefty struck out seven over 4 2/3 innings, then turned it over to the bullpen, which hasn't allowed a run in the series covering 14 innings.
"I thought he threw the ball well," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Wood. "When you give up three homers -- but the two to Baez were down below the zone. He took two good swings on those balls and hit them out of the ballpark, and the one to Contreras, elevated fastball. But for not pitching in three weeks, I thought he was sharp, competed and gave us a chance to win."
Arrieta, a pending free agent who may have made his last start for the Cubs, posted the longest outing by a Chicago starter in the NLCS presented by Camping World, striking out nine over 6 2/3 innings.
"I took a little bit of extra time between pitches just to look around, foul pole to foul pole, behind home plate, just to relish it and take it in," Arrieta said.
Cody Bellinger accounted for the Dodgers' only run off Arrieta when he hit a line-drive home run off the smaller video board in right field with one out in the third.
The Cubs called on closer Wade Davis to get the final six outs, and Justin Turner made it interesting when he launched a 400-foot homer to left to lead off the eighth.
"We still like the way we went about it tonight," said Turner, whose club wasted eight walks and a hit batter. "We had good at-bats, made their guys work and throw a lot of pitches, just didn't get the result we wanted."
Maddon didn't last long enough to see the end of the inning as he was ejected for the second time in the series after arguing the foul-ball call. The Cubs still have work to do.
"We have to be much more offensive," Maddon said. "It's got to start happening tomorrow. We're going to do this. Going to pull this off, we have to become more offensive tomorrow."
Teams with 3-0 leads in best-of-seven series have gone 11-1, with the lone exception the 2004 Red Sox vs. Yankees American League Championship Series. The Cubs are vying to become the second to do so.
"It's a good feeling when we wake up tomorrow, we know Clayton [Kershaw] is taking the mound," Roberts said. "But as far as our mindset, the psyche, we know we're going to be in for a battle tomorrow, and we'll be ready."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Cubs on the board … literally: In each of the first three games of the series, the Cubs have scored first on home runs. None of those, however, came close to Contreras' blast off the first pitch from Wood, which caromed off the left field video board. The home run was measured at 491 feet, the longest hit in the postseason since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015. More >>
One out later, Baez connected on a solo shot measured at 437 feet. Baez's homer may have been more significant because it ended an 0-for-20 skid in the postseason. Wood did strike out the side in the second.
"Since the series began, I've been trying to get a base hit so hard," Baez said. "Tonight I just said to myself not to try too much, and I didn't, and there you have it. I had two good contacts and win the game by one run."
Maddon ejected on K reversal: In the Dodgers' eighth, Davis struck out Granderson, but the batter argued that he had fouled the ball. At first, home-plate umpire Jim Wolf disagreed and called Granderson out. But Roberts asked the umpires to confer, and after a lengthy conversation, they agreed with Granderson. That prompted Maddon to sprint out of the dugout and he argued the reversal. After an animated discussion, Maddon was ejected, the second time he's been tossed in this series. Davis then struck out Granderson.
"With all due respect, under those circumstances, that can't happen," Maddon said of the call. "It can't happen. If Granderson hits the next pitch out of the ballpark, that can't happen. The process was not good. That's my argument. The process was a bad process. That's my argument. If I don't do that, what do my players think if I don't stand up for our guys like that? What do they think in that moment? That's part of it. The other part is you want to win the darn game, man. You want to win the game. And if that takes the game away from you right there, that would be really awful."
Closing time: In Game 5 of the NL Division Series, Davis threw 44 pitches over 2 1/3 innings and got the save. On Wednesday, Davis needed 48 pitches to get the final six outs and earn his fourth postseason save. That's the most pitches he's thrown in a game to record a save in his career. Davis is the second pitcher in the LCS era to throw 48 pitches and pick up a save, joining the Giants' Madison Bumgarner, who threw 68 over five innings in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series.
It's been a weird October for the Cubs' closer. He had not pitched since Game 5, which was played last Thursday.
"I enjoy being out there in a close game, especially in these situations when we're down 3-0 [in the series]," Davis said. "I enjoy being out there for sure."
He even got an at-bat, and borrowed one of Kris Bryant's bats because he'd sent his home already.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Baez is the fifth player in Cubs history to record a two-homer game in the postseason. Aramis Ramirez, Alex Gonzalez and Eric Karros did so in 2003, and Gary Matthews hit a pair against the Padres in 1984.
• Maddon is the first manager to be ejected twice in the same postseason. It was the third time he's been tossed in the playoffs in his career (also the 2010 AL Division Series).
• With 23 career postseason RBIs, Turner is third on the all-time franchise list behind Duke Snider (26) and Ron Cey (24).
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
In the fifth inning, Wood was called out on an infield grounder to Arrieta, but the Dodgers challenged the ruling. After a review, the call was confirmed.
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers: Game 1 starter Clayton Kershaw is lined up for Game 5 on Thursday. Kershaw drew a no-decision in Game 1 of this series, lifted after allowing two runs in five innings. He is 5-7 with a 4.57 ERA in his postseason career. More >>
Cubs:Jose Quintana will try to extend the Cubs' season in Game 5. The lefty will be making his fourth postseason appearance and third start. He started Game 1 and gave up two runs over five innings. More >>
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.