Dodgers defeat Cubs to win National League title, reach first World Series since 1988

Enrique Hernandez celebrates after hitting a grand slam. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

CHICAGO, Ill. – Nobody in the National League could dodge the Dodgers, and now they’re headed to the Fall Classic.

The Los Angeles Dodgers club the Cubs 11-1 in Thursday’s game five of the National League Championship Series to win the best of seven 4-to-1. The victory eliminates Chicago, Major League Baseball’s defending world champions and gives the Dodgers their first World Series appearance since 1988.

L.A. ace Clayton Kershaw earns the victory. He was staked to an early lead after the Dodgers scored single runs in the first and second innings before a five run explosion in the third behind Enrique Hernandez’s grand slam – one of his three home runs in the game.

Chris Taylor hits a ground rule double in the third inning. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Virginia Beach native (Cox High School) Chris Taylor had two hits and scored two runs in the victory. He was voted co-MVP of the series along with Justin Turner – who played parts of two seasons with the Norfolk Tides.

“Yeah, [it’s] pretty remarkable to think about where I was at this time last year,” Taylor said afterwards. “Last year I got sent to Arizona for Stay Hot and then sent home before the NLCS. It’s crazy how things — how fast things can change in this game in both directions.”

“I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this and be with these guys,” the former UVA standout admitted. “It’s been an unbelievable year, and I’m just super excited.”

The Dodgers, who had MLB’s best regular season record, will have home field advantage in next week’s World Series vs. either Houston or New York. The Yankees lead the best of seven American League Championship Series three games to two. Game six is Friday night in Houston. Former Old Dominion star Justin Verlander will start the game on the mound for the Astros.