CHISportsNation

Well Cubs fans, they did it. 108 beat 68.

On Wednesday night the Cubs and Indians suited up for what many said to be the best Game 7 in the history of baseball. And those people weren’t wrong. Two franchises who have lacked in the winning department in recent years building title contenders needing a 7th game to decide who was going to break one of the 2 longest World Series droughts in baseball history. The only thing that could of made a Game 7 better than the 9 required innings that had to be played, is by adding a few extra ones, and that is exactly what this game provided. Corey Kluber, the former Cy Young award winner who had been absolutely dominant this October against Kyle Hendricks, the young Chicago ace who led all of baseball in ERA and had just beat one of the best pitchers of his generation in Clayton Kershaw two short weeks ago. But why sit here and only talk about Game 7 when there was 6 other games that made this the best World Series to be played in decades? There was the surprising return of slugger Kyle Schwarber who was expected to not play an actual game with the team till next April, the return of #2 starter Danny Salazar who came back to throw out of the already loaded Cleveland bullpen, the reunion of all-star left-handed relievers in the Cubs’ Aroldis Chapman and Indians’ Andrew Miller. This series lived up to the hype that surrounded it before Game 1, nd we are here to recap it.

Game one featured the Co- NLCS MVP in Jon Lester against potential Cy-Young winner Corey Kluber, and man was Kluber on that night. Kluber blew past the Indians old franchise record striking out 9 Cubs in 6 innings of work before turning the ball over to a man who hadn’t given up a run all postseason. Lester who had been unbelievably good this postseason himself got off to a great start getting 2 outs with 6 pitches before allowing a single and stolen base to Fransisco Lindor, then walking a couple, hitting a batter and allowing a bunt single. 2 runs would be all Cleveland would need as Kluber and Miller cruised through the lineup, but C Roberto Perez felt that more runs were needed taking both Lester and Rondon deep en route to a 6-0 game 1 victory for the Tribe.

Game 2 brought the reigning NL CY Young award winner Jake Arrieta to the mound to oppose Trevor Bauer who just a week ago had to come out of a start due to a freak drone accident. The Cubs got to him early in often, scoring right off the get go in the first on ab Anthony Rizzo RBI double that scored Kris Bryant. Bauer settled down in the second before allowing another one in the third on an RBI single by none other than DH Kyle Schwarber who was just in his second game back since April 7th. With Arrieta dealing the Cubs chased Bauer early going into the 5th facing the daunted Cleveland bullpen yet again. After a Kris Bryant strike out Rizzo walked before being tripled in by Ben Zobrist. Leading 3-0 slugger Kyle Schwarber came in to face a drawn in infield with a runner on 3rd and 1 out. With 2 strikes in the count Schwarber singled up the middle for his second RBI of the night giving Chicago a 4-0 lead. After a fielding error and a few walks the Cubs ended the 5th 5-1 and eventually knotted the series up at 1 with a 5-1 game 2 victory.

Game 3 brought high scoring expectations along with a hopeful Cub fan base that felt a win was needed with Corey Kluber looming in-game 4. Both Hendricks and Tomlin were on top of their games, and it was knotted at 0 going into the 5th, Hendricks then loaded the bases prompting a pitching change before Grimm came in and forced Lindor into an inning ending double play to keep the game tied. After giving up a leadoff single and then getting 2 straight outs the Indians decided to go to their ace reliever Andrew Miller to stop the threat, ending Tomlins night at 4 2/3 IP. Going into the 7th the game was still knotted at 0 before Roberto Perez lead off with a single. After a pinch runner and a sac bunt followed by a walk to Rajai Davis Coco Crisp came in to pinch hit ending Miller’s night. Cubs manager decided to stick with Edwards who allowed Crisp to hit a liner into right field to take a 1-0 lead over the Cubs and that was all that was needed as Shaw and Allen both pitched an inning a piece to close out game 3 and give Cleveland a 2-1 lead.

Game 4 brought back game 1 starter Corey Kluber to face veteran John Lackey. After 1 dominant 1-2-3 top of the first the Cubs got to Kluber early getting 1 in the first but that was it from there as Kluber settled in after getting the lead in the second on a Carlos Santana game tying single and a Corey Kluber go-ahead infield hit which scored Lonnie Chisenhall on an errant throw by 3rd baseman Kris Bryant. The Indians added another in the 3rd on a Fransisco Lindor single and then iced it in the 7th on a Jason Kipnis 3-run bomb that made it a 7-1 game. The Cubs lone bright spot was an 8th inning bomb by CF Dexter Fowler off of Andrew Miller, but the Indians took game 4 7*2 and took a commanding 3-1 lead.

The last time someone came back from down 3-1 was the 1985 Royals who are the only team in major league history to come back from down 3-1 twice in one postseason. It had only happened 5 times in MLB history so the odds were not good after game 4 for the Cubs. In Game 5 the Cubs sent out 19 game winner Jon Lester against Game 2 starter Trevor Bauer. After a dominant first inning from both starters Lester got a quick out to start the 2nd before giving up a monster home run to Jose Ramirez giving already nervous Cubs fans a heart attack. Bauer continued to shut down the Cubs bats through 3 until NL MVP candidate Kris Bryant lead off the bottom of the 4th with his first World Series home run that barely got into the basket. After an Anthony Rizzo double and a single into right by Zobrist the Cubs had Addison Russell up with runners on first and second with nobody out. Russell hit a little chopper to 3rd basemen Jose Ramirez who couldn’t make a play on it scoring Rizzo and giving the Cubs a 2-1 lead. After a strikeout of Heyward and a bunt single from Baez, Ross came to the plate with bases loaded and 1 out and delivered what turned out to be a game winning sac fly giving the Cubs a 3-1 lead. Cleveland got one back in the top of the 6th making it a 3-2 game. Mike Napoli lead off the top of the 7th with a single and after a baseball and fly out to LF Ben Zobrist the Indians had a runner on second with one out, prompting Maddon to bring in all-star closer Aroldis Chapman. Chapman got out of the inning without any damage and proceeded to go the rest of the game, which included a strikeout of Lindor in the top of the 8th with a runner on 3rd and 2 outs. Chapman retired the Indians in order in the top of the 9th to seal a 3-2 win for the Cubs sending the series back to Cleveland for a game 6.

Game 6 brought Game 2 winner Jake Arrieta back to the mound trying to push this series to a game 7. The Indians countered with Game 3 winner Josh Tomlin who was pitching on short rest. Tomlin got Fowler and Schwarber out quickly and had Bryant down to two strikes and it looked like the righty was going to keep the Cubs bats in check again. But on a 0-2 pitch, Tomlin hung a curveball over the middle of the plate and Bryant hit it a long way to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. After back to back singles by Rizzo and Zobrist, SS Addison Russell came up and hit a flyball into short right center that looked like it would end the inning, but due to miscommunication betweem CF Tyler Naquin and RF Lonnie Chisenhall the ball dropped and scored both Rizzo and Zobrist giving the Cubs a 3-0 lead and loads of momentum. Tomlin settled down in the second getting a 3 up 3 down but Arrieta was dueling so it was 3-0 going into the top of the third. Kyle Schwarber led off the inning with a walk, and advanced to third after back to back singles by Zobrist and Rizzo. After a pitching change Addison Russell faced a 2-0 count. Looking to give the Cubs a bigger lead Russell got a 2-seam fastball over the middle of the plate and hit it a mile, making him the second youngest player to ever hit a grand slam in the World Series and giving Chicago a 7-0 lead. The Indians battled back and made it 7-2 forcing Maddon to go back to Chapman in the bottom of the 7th in order to kill the Cleveland rally. With 2 outs in the top of the 9th Kris Bryant singled before Anthony Rizzo took an 0-1 pitched a blasted a 2 run home run giving the Cubs a 9-2 lead and taking the pressure off of Joe Maddon. Strop and Wood combined to get 3 outs in the bottom of the inning to knot the series up at 3 and forcing a winner take all game 7.

Image result for cubs indians world seriesGame 7. Those are considered to be the best two words in sports. A combined 176 years worth of title droughts and one was going to end that night. Kyle Hendricks, the young Cy Young candidate against Corey Kluber, another Cy Young candidate who also had dominated all postseason. How could it get better than this? You knew the Cubs had to come out early and get on Kluber before the dominant bullpen got a chance to come into the game. Dexter Fowler came up in one of the biggest games of his life and hit a lead off bomb just over the out reached glove of Rajai Davis to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. The Indians got that run back in the bottom of the third after a Carlos Santana single scored Coco Crisp who had doubled to lead off the inning. The Cubs came back in the top of the 4th and got a lead off single from Bryant followed by a HPB on Rizzo. Zobrist rolled one on the ground to 1B Mike Napoli but a bad throw to second kept the Indians from turning 2 and gave Addison Russell runners on first and third with 1 out. Russell lifted one into shallow left center field and it looked like it wasn’t going to be deep enough to score Bryant. Centerfielder Rajai Davis took a lazy effort to catch it anticipating that Bryant wasn’t going to even attempt to go, allowing Bryant to score on a high throw and giving the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Contreras came up one batter later and hit a double off of the wall scoring Zobrist and giving the Cubs a 3-1 lead. Down 3-1 the Indians decided to stick with Kluber hoping to give them one more inning before going to Miller, but after a home run by a struggling Javier Baez to start the inning Francona was forced to go to his dominant reliever. Fowler greeted Miller with a lead off single but was erased quickly on a double play by Schwarber. After a Bryant walk, Rizzo pulled a double down the right field line that scored Bryant who was running on the pitch giving the Cubs a 4-1 lead. After two-out walk to Carlos Santana, Maddon opted to bring in-game 5 winner Jon Lester. Lester gave up a single to Kipnis and both him and Santana advanced on a throwing error by Ross. With Lindor at the plate Lester bounced a curveball of the mask of David Ross, allowing both Kipnis and Santana to score and making it a 5-3 game. After a pop out by Russell to lead off the 6th inning, David Ross came up playing in his last game ever due to retiring at the end of the season. Ross got a 1-2 fastball and hit a bomb out to straight center to give the Cubs a 6-3 lead. Lester continued to deal, andn had 2 outs in the 8th before giving up a single to Jose Ramirez. With 4 outs remaining to clinch their first World Series since 1908, Maddon opted to go to the man who got them there in Aroldis Chapman. Chapman, who was visibly exhausted, gave up an RBI double to pinch hitter Brandon Guyer. After a lenghthy battle with Rajai Davis, Chapman left a 2-2 fastball over the middle of the plate and Davis deposited it into the left field bleachers to tie the game at 6. Cubs fans were heart-broken. They were in disbelief. Chapman managed to get out of the inning and throw a scoreless ninth. Then the rain came. The umpires felt the stage was too big to force the athletes to play in those type of conditions, so a 17 minute rain delay ensued. During the rain delay, struggling RF Jason Heyward rallied the players into the weight room and gave a motivational speech, reminding them that they were a team that had picked each other up all season long, and that this was their time. After the delay, Kyle Schwarber led off the top of the 10th with a single into right. rookie Albert Almora Jr came into pinch run and advanced to second on a Bryant flyout, forcing the Indians to walk Rizzo. With 2 strikes Ben Zobrist barley fouled off a cutter giving him another shot at giving the Cubs the lead. The very next pitch Zobrist took an outside pitch down the left field line scoring Almora giving the Cubs a 7-6 lead. After an intentional walk to Russell, catcher Miguel Montero delivered what proved to be the winning run on a single into left scoring Rizzo. Bauer relieved Shaw and managed to get the Indians out of the inning without anymore damage. Carl Edwards Jr came on to pitch the 10th, with the Cubs needing 3 outs to win their first World Series in 108 years. After striking out Napoli and forcing Ramirez into a ground out the Edwards needed 1 more out to clinch it. He allowed a walk to Brandon Guyer and a single to Davis that brought the Indians back within a run. With switch hitter Micheal Martinez coming up Maddon went back to his bullpen to left hander Mike Montgomery. Montgomery threw a 0-1 curveball the Martinez dribbled to third baseman Kris Bryant, who fielded it cleanly and threw a bulltet to Anthony Rizzo ending the game and ending the drought. The Cubs won 8-7 in ten innings ending the dreaded curse.

LF Ben Zobrist earned MVP honors, hitting .357 with 5 runs and the go ahead RBI in game 7. Thank you Cubs fans for sticking with chisportsnation throughout the season and rooting hard with us here. Heres to an even better 2017! Go Cubs Go!

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