Kris Bryant tossed his glove high in the air, Jake Arrieta jumped over the dugout railing, and the rest of the Chicago Cubs rushed to join the celebration. Pure revelry and a sigh of relief, all at once. World Series favorites since opening day, the Cubs took another step in their century-long championship chase Tuesday night by rallying for four runs in the ninth inning of Game 4 to beat San Francisco 6-5 and win their NL Division Series, reports the AP. Four wins from their first pennant since 1945, the Cubs will open the NL Championship Series at Wrigley Field on Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers or Washington Nationals. That matchup is tied 2-all heading into the deciding Game 5 on Thursday.
Before that, the team with the best regular-season record (103-58) in the majors this year will get a few days of rest. Chicago was swept by the New York Mets in the NLCS last year and is still seeking its first World Series title since 1908. "Expectations is a good word. Because normally it means that you have something good attached to it at the other side," says manager Joe Maddon. Adds pitcher Jon Lester: "Nobody really cares in there about a curse or a goat or anything else. If we make a mistake, we're not going to blame it on a curse or anything else like that. We're going to blame it on ourselves and be accountable for it."