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Cubs, Nationals settle NLDS in Game 5 Thursday

Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper (34) and Michael Taylor (3) celebrate after Game 4 of baseball's National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, in Chicago. The Nationals won 5-0. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

GOING THE DISTANCE

It's a win-or-go-home Game 5 in the NL Division Series between the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals at 8:08 p.m. EDT. Kyle Hendricks pitches for the World Series champion Cubs after beating Stephen Strasburg 3-0 in the opener. Washington manager Dusty Baker was non-committal when asked about his starter, with Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark the most likely candidates.

Back home after saving their season Wednesday with a 5-0 win at Wrigley Field behind Strasburg, the NL East champions have a chance to avenge years of playoff heartache. The Nationals also made it to the playoffs in 2012, 2014 and 2016 and fell in the first round each time, including five-game losses to St. Louis in 2012 and the Los Angeles Dodgers last season.

"Once you get out there, that stuff doesn't really matter," said Michael A. Taylor, who hit a grand slam for Washington late in Game 4. "What we did last year doesn't help or hurt us once we're in between the lines."

The winner heads for Los Angeles to play the Dodgers in the NL Championship Series beginning Saturday.

CLEAN IT UP

If the Cubs are going to win at Washington in the deciding Game 5 of their NL Division Series, they may need to tighten up their defense. Chicago has committed seven errors in the first four games of the series. In addition, 2016 NL MVP Kris Bryant looks to bounce back from a tough day in Game 4, when he struck out four times as the defending champs went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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