LOS ANGELES —Justin Turner hit a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Cubs 4-1 on Sunday to take a 2-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

Turner drove in every run for Los Angeles, getting an early RBI single before sending a long shot to center off John Lackey in the ninth. A fan wearing a blue Dodgers shirt reached over a railing to catch the ball on the fly.

Turner's second homer of the postseason ended another dramatic night for the Dodgers, who remained unbeaten in these playoffs and moved within two wins of their first World Series appearance since 1988.

And Turner even did it on the 29th anniversary of Kirk Gibson's pinch-hit, walk-off homer to beat Oakland in the opening game of the Dodgers' last World Series victory.

Game 3 in the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Midseason acquisition Yu Darvish starts for the Dodgers against Kyle Hendricks.

In Game 1 on Saturday, Joe Maddon also went to his bullpen, and two pitches later, it all began to implode for the Cubs.

Jose Quintana gave Chicago five strong innings, but relievers Hector Rondon and Mike Montgomery couldn't make it count in a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opener of the NL Championship Series.

Quintana dominated early a day after his wife, Michel, was taken off the team plane during an emergency stop with a medical ailment. Los Angeles got to him for two runs in the fifth, though, and Maddon called on Rondon to start the sixth in a 2-2 game.

That's when it began to fall apart.

Chris Taylor homered on Rondon's 1-0 pitch to lead off, and Rondon faced only one more batter before handing off to Montgomery.

"When you miss the pitch, they make you pay, especially in the playoffs," Rondon said Saturday. "They were ready for a mistake and I threw it a little bit in the zone and he got me."

Montgomery got out of the sixth unscathed, but then allowed a leadoff homer to Yasiel Puig in the seventh, followed by a double to Charlie Culberson and an infield single to Taylor.

Maddon then called for starter John Lackey — his last decision before being sent home early by the umpires.

Justin Turner singled off Lackey, and Culberson was initially called out at the plate trying to score. That ruling was overturned after a video review because of the way catcher Willson Contreras blocked home plate, and Maddon was ejected for arguing the replay decision.

It capped yet another disappointing October show for Chicago's relievers.

Carl Edwards Jr. blew a save in Game 2 of the Cubs' NL Division Series against Washington — a game in which Montgomery also let in two runs in 2/3 of an inning. Edwards and closer Wade Davis also had a tough time in a Game 4 loss to the Nationals, and the bullpen gave up four runs over five innings in a 9-8 Game 5 win to advance.

This was Rondon's first appearance this postseason — he was added to the roster earlier Saturday, while left-handed reliever Justin Wilson was removed.

It was just the latest letdown for Montgomery, a long reliever who's had a trio of abrupt outings in the playoffs. He's been charged with five runs over two innings.

Contreras said the problem with the bullpen was "lot of missed locations, a lot of walks. That's one thing that cannot happen."

Maddon was ejected by the umpires Saturday night, but his real beef is with Major League Baseball's rules.

Maddon was tossed for arguing an overturned call at home plate, then let loose on baseball's rule governing potential collisions with catchers.

In the seventh inning, the Dodgers' Charlie Culberson was originally called out at home after a single by Justin Turner. After a video review that took 2 minutes, 45 seconds, Culberson was ruled safe because of the way catcher Willson Contreras blocked the plate.

Contreras extended his left leg as he caught the ball, preventing Culberson from touching home as he slid past. MLB instituted a rule prior to the 2014 season banning catchers from blocking home plate until they have possession of the ball.

After the replay, Maddon stormed out of the dugout and began to argue, first with plate umpire Lance Barksdale and then crew chief Mike Winters.

Winters let him make a brief case before tossing him.

Maddon said he got ejected to make a point.

"I'm not arguing against the umpires. I thought the umpires did a great job," Maddon said. "I thought the game was well-officiated. I thought whoever had to make that decision, you put them in a bad decision in a replay booth in New York City."

Maddon called it "a great baseball play" and said he thought the throw from left fielder Kyle Schwarber took Contreras toward the baseline.

"He catches the ball and his technique was absolutely 100 percent perfect," Maddon said.

Maddon reiterated that he "could not disagree more with the interpretation" of the rule.

"The umpires did everything according to what they've been told, but I, from Day One, have totally disagreed with the context of that rule. I think it's wrong. I think anybody that's played major league or even minor league baseball will agree with me 100 percent on that," he said.

The defending World Series champions had their manager's back.

"I made a basic play," Contreras said. "The ball drove me to that position. I can't do more. I did what I needed to do."

Lackey, who pitched 1 2/3 innings in relief, agreed.

"It's sad the direction our game has gone. That's a textbook play by the kid and he got penalized for it," Lackey said.

Maddon said the home plate collision rule "gets interpreted kind of like tantamount to the soda tax in Chicago, for me."

Cook County repealed its unpopular tax on sugary drinks this week.

Asked to explain, Maddon said: "Suddenly we're taxing soda back there. My point is, all rules that are created, or laws, aren't necessarily good ones. That's my point."

Subcribe to the Times

Reporting like this is brought to you by a staff of experienced local journalists committed to telling the stories of your community.
Support from subscribers is vital to continue our mission.

Become a subscriber

Thank you for being a loyal subsciber

Your contribution makes our mission possible.