The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES–Justin Turner savoured every last stride as he followed in Kirk Gibson’s famous footsteps at Dodger Stadium.
The red-bearded slugger from southern California knew all about the history attached to this home-run trot.
On the 29th anniversary of Gibson’s celebrated pinch-hit homer that shocked Oakland in the 1988 World Series opener, Turner added another landmark shot to L.A. Dodgers’ post-season lore.
Turner hit a three-run drive with two outs in the bottom of the ninth as the Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 4-1 last night to take a 2-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.
“One of my earliest baseball memories was being at my grandma’s house and watching that game in ’88 and seeing ‘Gibby’ hit that homer,” said Turner, who wasn’t quite four years old at the time.
“So yeah, it feels pretty cool.
“I thought about doing the fist-pump around the bases, but we’ll wait until we get to the World Series for that, hopefully,” he added.
The dominant Dodgers are two wins away after Turner drove in all four runs in Game 2 to keep L.A. unbeaten so far in the post-season.
He delivered a tying single in the fifth before sending a long shot to centre-field off John Lackey in the ninth.
Completing the poetry of the moment, a fan wearing a blue Dodgers’ jersey took a few steps onto a walkway and gracefully caught the ball in his glove on the fly.
Another generation of Dodgers’ fans now has its own historic homer, and these Dodgers are growing increasingly confident they can earn their first trip to the World Series since 1988.
Turner got swallowed up at home plate by another pack of ecstatic Dodgers, just as Gibson did.
Game 3 in the best-of-seven series goes tomorrow night at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Mid-season acquisition Yu Darvish starts for the Dodgers against Kyle Hendricks.
Yasiel Puig drew his third walk of the game leading off the ninth before Charlie Culberson bunted him to second.
After losing pitcher Brian Duensing struck out pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer, Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon went to the bullpen for the 38-year-old Lackey, who pitched on consecutive days for the first time in his 15-year career.
Lackey, who got the call over all-star closer Wade Davis, walked Chris Taylor on six tense pitches.
Maddon said he wanted to save Davis for a potential save on the road, and Lackey would have pitched the 10th inning, as well, if the Cubs did not have a lead.
“Nobody is a really great matchup against Turner, so it just did not work out,” Maddon reasoned.
Addison Russell homered in the fifth for the Cubs, who are down early in this rematch of last year’s NLCS.
Chicago won that series in six games after splitting the first two.
Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jansen got the win with a hitless ninth despite hitting Anthony Rizzo on the hand with a one-out pitch.
That ended the L.A. bullpen’s impressive streak of 22-straight Cubs retired to begin the NLCS, but the Dodgers have thrown eight hitless and scoreless innings of relief in the NLCS.
Editor’s note: Game 3 of the ALCS between Houston and New York goes tonight at Yankee Stadium.
The Astros lead the series 2-0 following home wins by identical 2-1 scores on Friday night and Saturday afternoon.