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Strasburg, Taylor help Nationals force Game 5 vs Cubs

Washington Nationals center fielder Michael Taylor hits a grand slam against the Chicago Cubs in the eighth inning during Game 4 of the 2017 NLDS playoff baseball series at Wrigley Field. Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports1 / 2
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) delivers a pitch during the first inning of Game 4 of the 2017 NLDS playoff baseball series Wednesday, Oct. 11, against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports2 / 2

CHICAGO—Stephen Strasburg threw seven scoreless innings and struck out 12 and Michael A. Taylor hit an eighth-inning grand slam to draw the Washington Nationals even at two games apiece in the National League Division Series with a 5-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.

The fifth and deciding game will be played Thursday, Oct. 11, in Washington. The winner advances to the NL Championship Series to face the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Strasburg shut down the Cubs a day after he continued to experience flu-like symptoms that began last week. The right-hander was not expected to start for the Nationals, who faced elimination after Game 4 was pushed back to Wednesday due to rain.

But after reporting to Wrigley Field on Wednesday morning feeling better after receiving antibiotics and a fluid IV for the past two days, Strasburg was dominant in keeping the Nationals alive.

Strasburg, who held the Cubs without a hit for 5 2/3 innings in Game 1 of the series, allowed just three hits and walked two. Strasburg struck out the side three different times to silence the Cubs.

With the Nationals clinging to a 1-0 lead in the eighth, Taylor blew the game open with the first postseason grand slam in Nationals' franchise history off Cubs closer Wade Davis. Davis entered the game with two outs in the inning after reliever Carl Edwards, Jr. walked a pair of hitters to load the bases.

Davis took over and surrendered the home run, which drifted into the right field bleachers with the wind blowing in.

The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the third inning. After Trea Turner doubled off Cubs starter Jake Arrieta with one out and advanced to third on a wild pitch, Arrieta struck out Jayson Werth to get within an out of getting out of the inning. But following a Bryce Harper walk, Cubs shortstop Addison Russell booted a Ryan Zimmerman ground ball, which allowed Turner to score.

The Nationals loaded the bases in the fourth inning with Arrieta laboring. Arrieta, who took the loss, allowed an Anthony Rendon lead-off double and then issued walks to Taylor and Turner. But Arrieta struck out Werth looking to wiggle out of trouble.

Arrieta allowed two hits and no earned runs over four innings, walked five and struck out four.