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Cubs 3, Dodgers 2: Because baseball

This appeared to be a classic mismatch on paper... but then, the games aren’t played on paper.

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

When this pitching matchup, Drew Smyly vs. Julio Urias, appeared on the docket for the Cubs for the weekend set at Dodger Stadium, this was the one where Cubs fans said, “Welp, better win the others, because this one’s a mismatch.”

But you know as well as I do that’s not how baseball works. The Cubs got to Urias with a pair of solo homers from Patrick Wisdom and Cody Bellinger, breaking a 1-1 tie in the sixth, and they held on for a 3-2 win, taking their third straight series. The Cubs have now won seven of 10 after a 1-3 start to the 2023 season.

Let’s rewind to the beginning of this tightly-played game.

Chris Taylor led off the bottom of the third with a home run off Smyly after he and Urias matched zeroes for the first two innings.

The Cubs flashed some defense in the fourth. Check out this grab by Patrick Wisdom:

The Cubs tied the game in the top of the fifth, playing small ball. Cody Bellinger reached on an error, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored on this crazy wild throw by Julio Urias on which Luis Torrens was given a hit [VIDEO].

The Cubs then loaded the bases on hits by Nico Hoerner and Dansby Swanson, but could not score again. The Dodgers followed that by putting a pair of runners on base with two out in the bottom of the fifth, but Smyly threw this nasty curveball to strike out Freddie Freeman to end the inning [VIDEO].

In the sixth, Wisdom homered for the third straight game, his sixth [VIDEO].

Wisdom’s blast set a bit of history for the Cubs, via BCB’s JohnW53:

No Cub before Patrick Wisdom this weekend ever hit home runs in three consecutive games of a series at Dodger Stadium. Ernie Banks did it at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on June 2-4, 1960. Hank Sauer is the only Cub who did it at Brooklyn, on July 12-14, 1951. Banks homered in the Cubs’ next game at the Coliseum, on June 4, for homers in four straight games in Los Angeles, and Don Zimmer homered in three games in a row at the Coliseum over two series, on August 6 and September 18-19, 1961.

Pretty majestic height on Wisdom’s homer [VIDEO].

And former Dodger Bellinger followed with a long home run, his third [VIDEO].

That ball was crushed! [VIDEO]

Bellinger’s long ball knocked Urias out of the game. Both of the homers happened after the first two hitters in the Cubs sixth were routine outs on just seven pitches.

The Cubs gave the Dodgers a gift run in the seventh. With two on and one out, Seiya Suzuki lost a fly ball hit by Mookie Betts in the sun and a run scored. The Dodgers wound up loading the bases, but Mark Leiter Jr. struck out Max Muncy to end the inning [VIDEO].

Using Leiter as a sort-of lefty due to his reverse splits is working, so far, anyway:

Michael Fulmer got another chance at the Dodgers in this game, this time in a setup role in the eighth inning, and he set them down 1-2-3. Perhaps he’s better suited to this type of bullpen role than closing.

Fulmer went to the mound to warm up for the ninth, but just before David Peralta, last night’s Dodger pinch-hitting hero, came to bat David Ross called for Brad Boxberger to close.

Boxberger struck out Peralta and Jason Heyward on pitches that probably weren’t strikes. Mookie Betts then beat out a grounder to deep short.

Freddie Freeman then got called out on strikes on yet another pitch that was... well, look:

Here’s a look at the pitch [VIDEO].

The Cubs will, of course, take it and leave L.A. with a hard-earned series win. Smyly had his second straight nice outing and Boxberger — with some help from some pretty bad umpiring — posted his first save as a Cub.

The Cubs now head up the California coast to face the Oakland A’s, who are off to a horrid start this year. A three-game series at Oakland begins Monday evening with Hayden Wesneski facing A’s lefty Kyle Muller. Game time is 8:40 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.