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updated: 10/20/2016 10:29 AM

Chicago Cubs offense returns in big, big way to even NLCS

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  • Video: Rizzo on Cubs win

  • Video: Maddon on scrutiny

  • The Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo hits a home run during the fifth inning of Game 4 of the National League championship series against the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday in Los Angeles.

    The Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo hits a home run during the fifth inning of Game 4 of the National League championship series against the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday in Los Angeles.
    Associated Press

Updated for Thursday's Game 5.

LOS ANGELES -- First of all, Chicago, relax.

Second of all, get ready, the National League championship series is coming back to Wrigley Field for a Game 6.

The Chicago Cubs made that possible Wednesday night, thanks to their awakening offense, as they pounded the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-2 at Dodger Stadium to even the best-of-seven NLCS at two games apiece.

Game 5 is Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. After an off-day Friday in Chicago, the two teams will play Game 6 Saturday night.

The Cubs welcomed Addison Russell and Anthony Rizzo back to the offensive fold. Russell hit a 2-run homer in the Cubs' 4-run fourth inning. Rizzo homered leading off the fifth inning and added a 2-run single in the sixth that gave the Cubs an 8-2 lead after the Dodgers came to within 5-2 in the fifth.

It seemed to be a big weight lifted off both players' shoulders. As he rounded the bases on his home run trot Russell gave a couple of little fist pumps.

Relief? Exhilaration? A little of both?

"I'd say all of the above," said Russell, who was 1-for-24 in the postseason entering the game. "I've been struggling this postseason a little bit but didn't panic. My confidence was still there. I feel like I've been seeing the ball well, taking some pretty good swings. So definitely wasn't panicking. I was a little more frustrated than anything else."

Russell went 3-for-5 in the game. Rizzo was 2-for-26 coming into Game 4. He also was 3-for-5, with 3 RBI. After a pair of strikeouts to begin Wednesday, he borrowed one of teammate Matt Szczur's bats.

"I've done it a few times, especially later in the year," he said. "Especially today, the first 2 at-bats weren't so hot."

This was a pivotal game. Had the Cubs lost, they would have faced an elimination game on the road. Now, they can go home with a 3-2 series lead with a win in Game 5 behind pitcher Jon Lester.

"I think this is a big win, for sure," Rizzo said. "With Lester going tomorrow, what he's going to bring to the table, he's going to bring the game tomorrow. In a way, this is just one game. And we know that it's going to be a quick turnaround to be ready tomorrow, but this was definitely a big game for us."

Manager Joe Maddon stuck with his regular players, putting right fielder Jason Heyward back into the lineup after not starting him Tuesday. Russell did move down to eighth in the order.

Maddon gave the start at catcher to rookie Willson Contreras, who teamed with Heyward to tag out Adrian Gonzalez trying to score the game's first run in the third inning.

"Yeah, that's our team," Maddon said. "You saw our team out there today. We scuffled in the beginning there."

The Cubs cranked out 13 hits and got great bullpen work after starting pitcher John Lackey went only 4 innings for the second time in the postseason.

In the bottom of the fifth, Lackey walked the first two batters, so Maddon wen to lefty Mike Montgomery, who allowed a 2-run single to Justin Turner.

Montgomery was the victim of his own bad luck as he deflected Turner's ball and sent what could have been a double-play bouncer into left field. But he shut the Dodgers down after that and got the win with 2 innings of shutout ball.

As always, Maddon was upbeat about the baseball.

"What you've seen so far, it's been a pretty interesting series to this point," he said. "I did not expect it to be such a lopsided victory for us today. Tomorrow will be a pretty nice day to come out on top and, going back home, having to win one of two. We've been pretty good at Wrigley all year. So it's just an interesting baseball series, man. I think it's great. I think it's great for base ball."

• Follow Bruce's Cubs and baseball reports on Twitter @BruceMiles2112.

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