Cubs make it to NLCS for 1st time in 12 years

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NTP: Cubs advance to NLCS, Chicago goes crazy
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Cubs make it to NLCS for 1st time in 12 years
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Fans celebrate at the intersection of Clark Street and Addison Street outside of Wrigley Field after the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Four to win the National League Divisional Series on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: David Lee Cook listens outside a bar across from Wrigley Field as the Chicago Cubs play the St. Louis Cardinals in game four of the NLDS championship series at the park on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs lead the series 2-1. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Police ride by Wrigley Field as the Chicago Cubs play the St. Louis Cardinals in game four of the NLDS championship series at the park on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs lead the series 2-1. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Sergio Arzate listens to the game while sitting on the sidewalk across from Wrigley Field as the Chicago Cubs play the St. Louis Cardinals in game four of the NLDS championship series at the park on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs lead the series 2-1. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: The Chicago Cubs celebrate defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4 in game four of the National League Division Series at Wrigley Field on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Fans celebrate in the Cubby Bear after the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Four to win the National League Divisional Series on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Fans celebrate outside Wrigley Field after the Chicago Cubs defeated the St. Louis Cardinals to win the division championship series on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs now advance to the National League Championship Series. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
The St. Louis Cardinals' Jon Jay slams his helmet on the ground as Stephen Piscotty strikes out to end the game against the Chicago Cubs in Game 4 of the NLDS at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015. The Cubs won, 6-4, to eliminate the Cards. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Fans celebrate outside Wrigley Field after the Chicago Cubs defeated the St. Louis Cardinals to win the division championship series on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs now advance to the National League Championship Series. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates on field with fans after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4 in Game 4 of the NLDS at Wrigley Field on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 in Chicago , Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Fans celebrate outside Wrigley Field after the Chicago Cubs defeated the St. Louis Cardinals to win the division championship series on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs now advance to the National League Championship Series. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Chicago Cubs fans celebrate after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4 in Game 4 of the NLDS at Wrigley Field on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 in Chicago , Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Anthony Rizzo #44 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates with fans after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in game four of the National League Division Series to win the NLDS 3-1 at Wrigley Field on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Cubs defeat the St. Louis Cardinals with a score of 6 to 4. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates with fans after the Chicago Cubs defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in game four of the National League Division Series to win the NLDS 3-1 at Wrigley Field on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Cubs defeat the St. Louis Cardinals with a score of 6 to 4. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Fans celebrate outside of Wrigley Field after the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Four to win the National League Divisional Series on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Fans celebrate at the Cubby Bear after the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Four to win the National League Divisional Series on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Fans celebrate the second out of the ninth inning of the Game Four of the National League Divisional Series between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals while watching the game at the Cubby Bear on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Chicago Cubs fan Priscilla Huch of Chicago smiles while talking with St. Louis Cardinals fan Anthony Skelly of Aurora, Illinios, while watching Game Four of the National League Divisional Series between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals at the Cubby Bear on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Fans react to a play in the eighth inning while watching Game Four of the National League Divisional Series between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals at the Cubby Bear at the Cubby Bear on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: A detailed view of the shirt of a Chicago Cubs fan prior to game four of the National League Division Series between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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CHICAGO (AP) — When it was over, Anthony Rizzo jumped around Wrigley Field and hugged everyone in sight. The moment was in his grasp, and he was determined to hold onto it for as long as possible.

The All-Star slugger endured several seasons of losing with the Chicago Cubs before they finally got into the playoffs again, and he was more than ready to enjoy the franchise's first appearance in the NL Championship Series in more than a decade.

"Obviously times weren't easy the last few years, but with all the talent we had and all the talent we were building, everyone knew that the Cubs were coming," a drenched Rizzo said as he celebrated Chicago's clinching 6-4 victory over St. Louis in the NL Division Series on Tuesday, "and we're here, and hopefully we can keep this thing going."

SEE ALSO: Cubs win NL Division Series, beat Cardinals 6-4 in Game 4

Rizzo, Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber homered as the Cubs finished off the rival Cardinals with their third consecutive win, leading to a wild scene on the inside and outside of their century-plus-old neighborhood ballpark. It was the first time they had clinched a postseason series at Wrigley, and the North Siders savored the accomplishment — at least for one night.

Much of a raucous, towel-waving crowd of 42,411 lingered as manager Joe Maddon posed for a selfie with his wife, and Jon Lester sprayed champagne with his young son. Rocker Eddie Vedder partied on the mound.

President Barack Obama — who roots for Chicago's other team — got in on the celebration, too, tweeting his congratulations and noting "even @whitesox fans are rooting for you!"

"We're going to celebrate this. We deserve to celebrate this," Rizzo said. "It's been a long time coming for this city, and hopefully it's just a sign of things to come."

The victory in Game 4 allows Chicago to line up ace pitchers Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester for the beginning of the NLCS this weekend. The Dodgers beat the Mets 3-1 on Tuesday night and will play Game 5 of their division series on Thursday in Los Angeles.

The winner hosts the Cubs on Saturday in the opener of Chicago's first NLCS since 2003.

"This obviously right now is very rewarding, but we have a couple more series and hopefully we can celebrate like this two more times," Chicago third baseman Kris Bryant said.

The Cubs had a string of five consecutive losing seasons before they went 97-65 this year. But it was only good enough for third in the competitive NL Central, with St. Louis winning a major league-best 100 games and Pittsburgh finishing second.

See the best photos and moments from the series:

15 PHOTOS
Best photos/moments Cubs-Cardinals NLDS
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Cubs make it to NLCS for 1st time in 12 years
ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 09: Stephen Piscotty #55 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates scoring a run in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs during game one of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium on October 9, 2015 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 9: Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs pitches in the first inning during Game 1 of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Friday, October 9, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by LG Patterson/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 09: Jason Heyward #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals makes a catch in the third inning against the Chicago Cubs during game one of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium on October 9, 2015 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)
The St. Louis Cardinals' Stephen Piscotty (55) scores the first run of the game ahead of a tag by Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross (3) in the first inning in Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. (Brian Cassela/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 10: Jorge Soler #68 of the Chicago Cubs hits a two-run home run in the second inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during game two of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium on October 10, 2015 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 10: Kolten Wong #16 of the St. Louis Cardinals dives to field a ground ball in the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs during game two of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium on October 10, 2015 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 10: Carlos Villanueva #33 of the St. Louis Cardinals throws a pitch in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs during game two of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium on October 10, 2015 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat-Pool/Getty Images)
St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina chats with pitcher Jaime Garcia (54) after a wild throw in the second inning against the Chicago Cubs in Game 2 of the NLDS on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The Cubs won, 6-3, to tie the series. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 12: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch in the second inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during game three of the National League Division Series at Wrigley Field on October 12, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 12: Anthony Rizzo #44 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during game three of the National League Division Series at Wrigley Field on October 12, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 12: Addison Russell #22 of the Chicago Cubs slides safely into third base with a triple ahead of the tag by Matt Carpenter #13 of the St. Louis Caridnalsduring game three of the National League Division Series at Wrigley Field on October 12, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Russell was injured on the play. The Cubs defeated the Cardinals 8-6. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Stephen Piscotty #55 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a two-run home run in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs during game four of the National League Division Series at Wrigley Field on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Miguel Montero #47 of the Chicago Cubs tags out Tony Cruz #48 of the St. Louis Cardinals at home plate in the sixth inning during game four of the National League Division Series between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Anthony Rizzo #44 of the Chicago Cubs hits a solo home run in the sixth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during game four of the National League Division Series at Wrigley Field on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Hector Rondon #56 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4 in game four of the National League Division Series at Wrigley Field on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The NL playoffs opened with Arrieta tossing a five-hit shutout in the wild-card game against the Pirates, and the Cubs just kept on rolling against the Cardinals. After a 4-0 loss to John Lackey in the series opener, Rizzo and company clubbed 10 homers in the last three games.

"It's a shame that three of the best teams in baseball, one is only moving on to the championship series," Rizzo said. "I've said that all along, two unbelievable clubs we just beat, the Pirates, who have an unbelievable organization and the same with the Cardinals. We just beat a really good team."

St. Louis, which had made it to the NLCS for four straight years, also was impressed.

"I will be shocked if they're not in the World Series or winning it," Cardinals rookie Stephen Piscotty said. "They're playing well. You got to tip your hat."

___

Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

Related: Cubs move on, Dodgers force Game 5:

Kershaw Forces Game 5, Cubs NLCS Bound


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