With their backs against the wall, the Cubs 1 needed a sterling performance to stay alive in Arizona League Championship Series.
Didier Vargas delivered.
The left-hander allowed two hits and struck out seven over 6 2/3 scoreless innings on Friday as the Cubs blanked the Dodgers, to even the best-of-3 Finals at one win apiece at Camelback Ranch.
Gameday box score
After giving up a one-out single in the first to Leonel Valera, Vargas retired the next seven hitters until Aldrich De Jongh led off the fourth with a single. Then he mowed down 11 consecutive Dodgers before exiting a scoreless contest.
The 19-year-old posted a 3.27 ERA in 12 appearances, including eight starts, during the regular season with 43-to-25 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 52 1/3 innings. Friday was his first playoff outing.
Fauris Guerrero (1-0) hit a batter over 2 1/3 innings otherwise perfect innings for the win. The 21-year-old right-hander owned a 1.62 ERA in 21 appearances this season.
The Cubs offense woke up in the eighth, with Christopher Morel hitting a leadoff single and scoring on a sacrifice fly by Josue Huma. Franklin Tineo tacked on an insurance run with an RBI groundout in the ninth after Dalton Hurd reached on an error.
Reliever Guillermo Zuniga (0-1) took the loss, allowing a run on five hits over 5 2/3 innings. He fanned six and walked two.
The Cubs will host the decisive third game of the series on Saturday.