It took ten innings, but the Chicago Cubs won Game 7 to become World Series champions for the first time since 1908. They were down three games to one and came back to win the series on the road, but not before blowing a 5-1 lead in Game 7.
Tonight was what is so great about baseball. A winner take all Game 7 goes extra innings for two franchises who have been waiting for what seems like forever to win a World Series.
The ending also had a KC Royals stamp on it.
Nothing went right for the Cleveland Indians through the first half of the game. They made mental mistakes, base running mistakes, and were being shut down by Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks. The overuse of starter Corey Kluber (pitching on three days rest for the second time this series) and reliever Andrew Miller reared its ugly head. Kluber allowed four runs on six hits (two home runs) over four innings. Miller allowed two runs on four hits (a homer) and a walk over the next 2.1 innings.
Then Hendricks was pulled with two outs and a runner on base in the fifth. Jason Kipnis hit a little grounder in front of the plate for a single (as Jon Lester will not come off the mound to field a ball) and an error put two runners into scoring position. A ball in the dirt led to two runs scoring and the Indians cutting the deficit to 5-3.
From there, Lester was cruising until allowing an infield single in the eighth with two outs to Jose Ramirez. That brought in Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman to face three straight veteran hitters. Brandon Guyer doubled in a run on a 3-2 pitch. Up came Rajai Davis, who choked up on his bat to line the 2-2 pitch just over the left field wall to tie the game at 6-6. Former KC Royal Coco Crisp followed with a single, but was left stranded (Crisp went 2-for-4 with a run scored).
In the top of the ninth with a runner on base and one out, Bryan Shaw relieved Cody Allen (2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K). A stolen base and a throwing error put the potential go ahead run on third base. Javy Baez was up with a 3-2 count and fouled off a bunt for the strikeout. Dexter Fowler then ripped a ball back up the middle, but Francisco Lindor was there and made a great running throw to just get Fowler to end the inning.
Chapman went back out for the ninth and retired the top of the Indians order, 1-2-3. Then the rain came and there was about a 15 minute delay.
Shaw went back out for the tenth and allowed a leadoff hit to Kyle Schwarber. After a fly out in which the pinch runner moved up to second base, Anthony Rizzo was intentionally walked for former Royal Ben Zobrist. He came through with a double down the third base line to give the Cubs back the lead (his only hit in the game). Miguel Montero followed with an RBI single to pad the lead and chase Shaw from the game.
Trevor Bauer (the Game 2 and 5 starter for the Indians) was next up with the bases loaded and one out. He retired both batters he faced (the first on a strikeout).
In the bottom of the tenth against Carl Edwards Jr, the Indians sent their 4-5-6 hitters to the plate. Mike Napoli struck out for the 11th time in the World Series (to just four hits). Ramirez grounded out. Guyer worked a walk to bring up Davis, who singled to cut the deficit to 8-7 and chase Edwards from the game.
The Cubs brought in former Royal Mike Montgomery to face Michael Martinez, who entered on defense in the top of the ninth. Martinez grounded out to end the game.
Nice to see the former Blue Rock Montgomery get the save (his first in the big leagues) and be right in the middle of the celebration. Back-to-back World Series championships for Zobrist.