Yu Darvish threw five overpowering innings on Monday, earning his first major league postseason win as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 to advance to the National League's championship series.
The Dodgers clinched the best-of-five divisional series in three games.
Darvish (1-0) struck out seven and through four innings had allowed nothing but a bunt single. With two outs in the fifth and the Dodgers leading 2-0, Daniel Descalso put a good swing on a lazy slider that wandered into the heart of the zone and homered just over the right field fence at Chase Field.
The Dodgers' batters exercised supreme discipline, laying off Zack Greinke's pitches out of the zone to send the Diamondbacks star's pitch count soaring.
The Dodgers struck for a run in the first inning. Leadoff man Chris Taylor lined the game's sixth pitch for a double, went to third on an out to center and scored on a groundout. Greinke labored but prevented the Dodgers from making more headway until Cody Bellinger homered in the fifth. He was pulled from the game after allowing Austin Barnes to lead off the sixth with a homer.
Until his location evaporated while facing the leadoff batter in the bottom of the sixth inning, Darvish was in top form. But two fastballs sailed inside, hitting the nob of Christian Walker's bat and then the batter himself, leading Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts to go to his bullpen.
Tony Cingrani got a double play and Brandon Morrow got a groundout to end the sixth and then pitched a 1-2-3 seventh.
Kenta Maeda got two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 eighth to protect the two-run lead.
"I wasn't able to contribute much in last year's postseason, but this year I have, so I'm extremely happy," Maeda said. "Sweeping the series in three games is the greatest."
Greinke (0-1) allowed four hits and walked five, while striking out four but was forced to throw 105 pitches in just five-plus innings, while Darvish only needed 74 pitches.
In Chicago, reliever Koji Uehara declared himself fit to pitch in the postseason after rejoining the Chicago Cubs for practice ahead of Monday's Game 3 of their National League Divisional Series playoff against the Washington Nationals.
"My only thought has been on being prepared," said the 42-year-old Uehara. "I'm ready now to go at any time."
The Cubs won 2-1 at home to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.
In New York, a day after Masahiro Tanaka won an elimination game, the New York Yankees remained alive in the American League playoffs by beating the Cleveland Indians for the second straight day, 7-3.
The victory set up a decisive Game 5 in Cleveland on Wednesday.