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Chicago Celebrates as Cubs Beat Cardinals, Head to First NLCS Since 2003

By  Alex Nitkin and Ariel Cheung | October 13, 2015 4:32pm | Updated on October 14, 2015 7:18am

 Thousands of Cubs fans packed the streets of Wrigleyville after their 6-4 win, advancing them to the NLCS.
Cubs celebration
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WRIGLEYVILLE — The Cubs are heading to the National League Championship Series after beating the Cardinals 6-4 on Tuesday at Wrigley Field, the first time the North Siders clinched a series at the Friendly Confines.

Chicago, which eliminated St. Louis in four games, will face either the Mets or Dodgers in the NLCS, which begins Saturday.

Huge, but peaceful crowds formed outside Wrigley after the Cubs' historic win, but there were no reported problems.

Police keep an eye on crowds in Wrigleyville and confiscate two bottles of champagne after the Cubs clinched the NLDS at Wrigley Field. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]

After the Cardinals tied the game with two runs in the top of the sixth inning, Anthony Rizzo's and Kyle Schwarber's solo home runs to right gave the Cubs a 6-4 lead. Schwarber's home run may have landed on the right field scoreboard.

The Cubs won their first series since 2003, when they beat the Braves in five games before losing to the Marlins in the NLCS.

Javier Baez's three-run home run gave the Cubs a 4-2 lead.

“On behalf of the City of Chicago, I am proud to congratulate our Chicago Cubs on their victory over the St. Louis Cardinals to advance to the National League Championship Series," Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who attended the game, said in a statement. "The fact that they took care of business here at Wrigley in front of the most patient and passionate fans in the world was all the more special. Their magical playoff run continues to rally our city and bring out the true spirit of Chicago. One series victory down, two more to go. #FlyTheW!"

Fans Tuesday were pumped, but a new street closure plan caused congestion and prevented some from celebrating the victory in their favorite Wrigleyville bars.

After the game, the ballpark crowd exploded onto Addison Street, packing the streets as barricades and police blocked off all sides of the Clark and Addison intersection from pedestrians and vehicles.

Following rounds of raucous chanting, the streets were congested as the crowd tried to push past one another in an attempt to access the Clark Street bars or get around the barricaded intersection.

While most followed police instructions, several demanded to know why the intersection was blocked or bemoaned their inability to get to the bars, their parked vehicles or their homes.

One fan pushed a barricade enough to tilt it and argued with an officer.

"You think I made this plan? This was not my idea," the officer responded. The crowd largely dissipated within an hour, with grumbling fans heading home instead of continuing their celebration on Clark Street.

Other fans used desperate measures to get to the popular strip. Two men said they snuck into the back door of John Barleycorn, while others begged officers to let them through.

Pedestrians were allowed through again around 8:20 p.m., just as street sweepers ran across Addison Street and down Clark Street.

Eric Espinosa, a high school football coach from Fort Wayne, Ind., milled through the thick crowd celebrating along Clark Street.

"This is pure awesomeness. I've been waiting for this since I was 7 years old," Espinosa said. "I mean, just look around. This is insane. I've never seen so many people come together to support their team like this."

"I really wish we could play the White Sox in the World Series, but just getting there would be good enough," he added.

Debi and Ken Della Costa got to Vines on Clark just in time to see Schwarber crush his home run in the seventh inning. Looking through the window with "W" flags draped across their backs, the couple were in a state of semi-disbelief.

"It's just amazing, the idea that we could be about to beat the Cardinals in the playoffs for the first time ever," Ken Dells Costa said. "People have been calling us losers forever. ... We've been losing to the Cardinals forever. Now it's our time."

Debi said she hoped their their three children — named Grace Addison, Waveland Clark and Wrigley Ivy — would send along some luck to help the home team finish off their rivals.

Born in 1946, Ray Maar missed the last Cubs World Series appearance by less than a year. He's bent on seeing it happen in his lifetime.

Maar flew back from his winter home in Arizona to make sure he wouldn't miss Tuesday's game. Now that the Cubs have advanced to the National League Championship Series, he said, he'll return again.

"There are so many emotions here, having been here so many years and now having this shot ... just thinking about it makes me feel like a kid in a candy store," said Maar, who added that he often came to Wrigleyville as a boy and picked up trash after games, in exchange for free tickets.

"Today's just a step, but it feels like ... I don't know, this could really be it," he said, his voice shaking. "And God knows how much tickets will cost then."

Lifelong Cubs fan Marye Greenys felt she had no choice but to take off from her job at a South Side bar to make it to Wrigleyville Tuesday.

"The people, the atmosphere ... there's nothing like it in the world, and it's never been like this," Greenys said, watching from Sports Corner Bar & Grill, 956 W. Addison St. "I just wish my dad were still alive to see this. ... He took us out of school for every home opener, my whole life. I live for this."

LuAnn Bean and Diane Ramsey came up from Nebraska to see the game from rooftop bleachers. Ramsey said watching a game from Wrigleyville rooftops was on her bucket list, and on Tuesday she got to cross it off under the best possible circumstances.

"It's just a once-in-a-lifetime experience, that's the only way I can describe it," Ramsey said. "I just want to stand around and absorb this atmosphere. It's electric."

Bean said she alternately "cried, got chills and was shaking" during the tumultuous game.

"It feels so amazing to come out on top, to send another team home in our own house," Bean said. "And the fact that it was the Cardinals we beat...well, that just warms my heart."

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