Anthony Rizzo broke a 4-4 tie in the sixth inning with his second home run in as many days off lefty Kevin Siegrist, while Kyle Schwarber followed an inning later with a monster home run that landed on the video scoreboard in right field. Javier Baez delivered the big early blow with a three-run home run in the second inning off of John Lackey, but only after pitcher Jason Hammel kept the inning alive with a two-out RBI single.
The Cubs hit nine home runs in the series' two home games, which was 14 percent of the total the Cardinals had allowed all season on the road. Seven home runs hit in the series from seven different players tied a league division series record, according to research from ESPN Stats and Information. The Cubs hit 10 overall in the four games.
Thumbs up: Rizzo, the Cubs' best player, came up big when they needed him most, hitting his second home run off of Siegrist in the series. Rizzo has dominated lefties all season, so it’s no surprise when he takes them deep. He has also been a clutch hitter, batting .300 with a .410 on-base percentage in games deemed late/close this season. The Cubs' MVP candidate came through, then Schwarber outdid him with a huge blast to cap off the scoring.
Thumbs down: The Cubs took four games instead of three to vanquish the majors' only 100-win team. It's about the only "negative" in a tremendous series by the underdog.
What’s next: The Cubs move on to the NLCS, where they have a chance to win their first pennant since 1945. Game 1 will be on Saturday in either New York or Los Angeles, and the Cubs will have a fully rested Jake Arrieta or Jon Lester to pitch in the opener of the best-of-seven series. Jason Motte could return to the bullpen, as the Cubs will reset their roster as they continue their march to breaking a 107-year championship drought.