Chicago Cubs 3, Cleveland Indians 2
When: 8:00 PM ET, Sunday, October 30, 2016
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago
CHICAGO – (Wire Service Report) – Aroldis Chapman usually never works much more than an inning as Chicago Cubs closer. With a win-or-be-eliminated situation in Game 5 of the World Series, Cubs manager Joe Maddon told Chapman to be prepared to go longer. Chapman worked a season-high 2 2/3 innings in relief to preserve a one-run lead as the Chicago Cubs stayed alive in the World Series with a 3-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
“I didn’t expect to come in so early but I mentally prepared myself,” Chapman said. “Whatever he (Maddon) needs me to do or how long he needs me to pitch for, I’m ready for it.”
“That was our best opportunity,” Maddon said. “With him, like a lot of late-inning relief pitchers, you want to talk in advance of the moment. So he was definitely aware of what may happen tonight.”
Chapman struck out four, including Jose Ramirez for the final out to secure his fourth postseason save. He threw 42 pitches to 10 hitters and secured Chicago’s first World Series win at Wrigley Field since Game 6 of the World Series on Oct. 8, 1945 against Detroit.
“That was the big ask, and he answered,” said Indians manager Terry Francona about Chapman’s lengthy relief outing. That was impressive.”
The Cubs now trail 3-2 as the World Series shifts back to Cleveland for Game 6 on Tuesday. Game 7, if necessary, would be played Wednesday in Cleveland.
Chicago denied the Indians’ bid to clinch their first World Series championship since 1948.
Cubs’ starter Jon Lester improved to 3-1 in the postseason (1-1 in the World Series) after allowing two runs over six innings. He threw 90 pitches with 42 coming in his final two innings. Lester said he was starting to struggle late in his outing and had no issue with being pulled.
“It had been a grind the previous two innings leading up to the sixth,” Lester said. “So I left it up to Joe. Joe made a decision and that was the decision. I’m happy it worked out for us.”
Indians starter Trevor Bauer (0-2 in the series and the postseason) gave up three runs in a four-inning outing.
Cleveland cut a 3-1 deficit in half in the sixth off Lester as Francisco Lindor’s two-out base hit to center scored Rajai Davis. In the seventh, Mike Napoli reached on a leadoff single off reliever Carl Edwards Jr. and advanced to second on a passed ball. The Cubs then turned to Chapman, who closed the inning without any scoring.
Chapman struck out Yan Gomes to open the eighth but was out of position when first baseman Anthony Rizzo stopped a Davis grounder down the line but had no one to throw it to.
“If Chappy had covered first base, there would have been a lot less angst going on,” Maddon said.
Davis, the potential tying run, then stole second with one out and third with two gone. However, Chapman ended the threat by striking out Lindor looking.
Lester struck out the side — all swinging — in a 13-pitch first inning but, in the top of the second, Ramirez gave the Indians a 1-0 lead by hitting a two-out home run to left on an 0-1 pitch. It was his first home run of the postseason.
Kris Bryant matched it in the fourth with a leadoff home run to left, his second of the postseason, as the Cubs started to rough up Bauer in what turned into a three-run fourth. Rizzo followed with a first-pitch double off the right-field wall and advanced to third on Ben Zobrist’s single to right on a 3-0 offering.
Addison Russell reached base with a weak infield grounder and drove in Rizzo for a 2-1 lead. Javier Baez then loaded the bases with a well-placed one-out bunt down the third base line and David Ross’ sacrifice to left brought home Zobrist to make it 3-1.
“Their guy was kind of cruising a little bit there in the first three, so it was nice to have a big inning there,” Bryant said.
Despite the loss, the Indians return to Cleveland with two chances to clinch the World Series. The Indians clinched the World Series at home in 1920 against Brooklyn.
“It’s always fun playing at home,” Davis said. “If that’s how it works out, it works out better for us to win at home.”
But Bryant said the Cubs have their own agenda.
“I feel like we play our best with our backs to the wall,” he said. Someone told me that 17 times this year we lost a game and (went) on to win three in-a-row. So why can’t we do that now?”
NOTES: Sunday marked the fifth time the Indians led a best-of-seven postseason series 3-1. They went on to win the series in three of four previous instances, including a 2016 ALCS triumph over Toronto. … Indians SS Francisco Lindor is the seventh player age 22 or younger to have three multi-hit World Series games. He had two hits on Saturday and went 1-for-4 on Sunday, giving him 18 hits in the postseason. … Despite Sunday’s win-or-be-finished scenario, Cubs manager Joe Maddon made no special motivational speeches to his team. “I really don’t believe in that speech thing working,” he said. … Chicago LHP Jon Lester made his fifth start this postseason on Sunday, a team single-season record.