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Cubs back in World Series

Chicago— The Chicago Cubs won their first National League pennant since 1945 and are a step closer to ending a 108-year World Series drought after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 on Saturday to clinch a 4-2 victory in the NL Championship Series. Chicago’s Kyle Hendricks outpitched Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw while Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early at Wrigley Field.

Clayton Kershaw pitched seven scoreless innings to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs and tie the National League Championship Series at 1-1. (AP)

Clayton Kershaw pitched seven scoreless innings to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs and tie the National League Championship Series at 1-1. (AP)

The pennant drought ended when closer Aroldis Chapman got Yasiel Puig to ground into a double play, setting off wild celebrations among the success-starved fans.

The Cubs will open the World Series at Cleveland on Tuesday. The Indians haven’t won it since 1948.

“This city deserves it so much,” Rizzo said. “We got four more big ones to go, but we’re going to enjoy this. We’re going to the World Series. I can’t even believe that.”

Hendricks pitched 7-1/3 scoreless innings. Aroldis Chapman took over and closed with hitless relief, then threw both arms in the air as he was mobbed by teammates and coaches.

Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the MVP award for the series. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, had a 1.38 earned run average in two starts.

The eternal “wait till next year” is over. No more dwelling on a history of failure – the future is now.

“We’re too young. We don’t care about it,” star slugger Kris Bryant said. “We don’t look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We’re enjoying it and our work’s just getting started.”

The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games.

And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.

In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn’t allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley.