Cubs are writing a new history one run at a time

during game six of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.

The Chicago Cubs are going to the World Series.

That sentence is not pulled from an alternate reality or “Back to the Future.” It is not meant ironically to taunt heartbroken fans or as a hopeful hypothetical.

It is really happening.

The Chicago Cubs are going to the World Series.

The Cubs defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night at Wrigley Field to win the National League championship series in six games. Kyle Hendricks allowed only two hits and struck out six in 7 1/3 scoreless innings while the Cubs offense scored five runs on seven hits against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers.

Now the Cubs return to the World Series for the first time since 1945 and embark on the next chapter of their storybook season. And as storybooks go, there was special meaning behind each run the Cubs scored in their series-clinching win.

First inning:

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22: Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs hits an RBI single in the second inning during Game 6 of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field on Saturday, October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Dexter Fowler

Dexter Fowler scored the first run of the game, but he almost wasn’t a Cub. In February, Fowler was shopping the free agent market and came close to a three-year deal with the Baltimore Orioles. When negotiations with the Orioles fell apart, Fowler opted instead to sign a one-year, $8 million offer with the Cubs. He kept the deal a secret to the rest of his teammates until walking onto the spring training field to surprise them and deliver the news. In the first inning of Game 6, Fowler hit a lead-off double and was later driven in by Kris Bryant for the Cubs’ first run of the series against Kershaw.

Cubs 1, Dodgers 0

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22: Ben Zobrist #18 of the Chicago Cubs hits a sacrifice fly in the first inning during Game 6 of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field on Saturday, October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ben Zobrist

With Starlin Castro shipped to the Yankees, the Cubs were looking for a more consistent, versatile, experienced player to take over at second base. Ben Zobrist had played with Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay and was one of the keys to the Kansas City Royals winning the World Series last season. Zobrist was one of the Cubs’ most reliable hitters in the regular season, but he had been struggling at the plate in the series, hitting 3-17 without recording an RBI until Game 6. His sacrifice fly was enough to bring Bryant in from third and give Zobrist his first and only RBI of the series.

Cubs 2, Dodgers 0

Second inning

during game six of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.

Addison Russell’s postseason got off to a bumpy start. In the team’s first six games, Russell went 1-24 at the plate. But with the Cubs down 2-1 in the NLCS, he caught fire. In the team’s final three wins of the series, he hit 6-13 and started the second inning of Game 6 with a double, later coming around to score. The fact that Russell was such a huge contributor to the Cubs’ National League title (he also started the game-ending double-play in Saturday’s victory) means even more when you remember that last year Russell missed the entire NLCS with a hamstring injury.

Cubs 3, Dodgers 0

Fourth inning

contrerasbatdropOn Sunday June 19, Willson Contreras’ first game as a Cub, he came in as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the sixth inning, made contact with the first pitch he saw and sent it sailing 415 feet over the center field ivy. According to MLB.com, Contreras became the first Cub to homer as a pinch-hitter in his first at-bat. His home run on Saturday was his first of the post-season and gave Hendricks a four run lead. Hendricks was also on the mound on that day in June when Contreras first introduced himself to the fans at Wrigley.

Cubs 4, Dodgers 0

Fifth inning

rizzohomerunLike Russell, Anthony Rizzo struggled through a cold post-season start. In the Cubs’ first seven games of the playoffs, he was 2-26 at the plate. And coming into this game, Rizzo was 1-8 against Kershaw in his career. Rizzo broke both cold spells, with a double in the third and then a solo home run in the fifth. It would be Kershaw’s last inning and the final run of the game for either team.

Cubs 5, Dodgers 0

What happens from here remains to be seen. But for the first time in 71 years, a generation of children will grow up in a world free of curses, billy goats and Bartmans. They will not know of a time when generations came and went without seeing the Cubs reach the World Series.

A new history is being written in Chicago.