Cleveland Indians 7, Chicago Cubs 2
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 29, 2016
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois
CHICAGO — It could hardly get much better for Jason Kipnis on Saturday. The Cleveland second baseman broke out of a 7-for-42 postseason slump as he slammed a three-run homer in his hometown ballpark to help propel the Indians to the brink of a World Series crown. Kipnis, a suburban Chicago native, provided a backbreaking 402-foot shot to the Wrigley Field bleachers as the Indians beat the Chicago Cubs 7-2 and claim a 3-1 lead in the World Series.
Cleveland could clinch its first big league title since 1948 with a victory on Sunday night at Wrigley Field.
“You can’t draw this up,” Kipnis said. “Everyone makes that situation in tee-ball or Wiffle ball in their back yard and I just got to live it. You can imagine how I’m feeling right now.”
Corey Kluber allowed one run and scattered five hits over six innings and picked up his second World Series triumph since Tuesday as the Indians won their second straight in Chicago. Kluber (4-1 post-season) struck out six and walked one and had just one troublesome inning — the first — as the Cubs grabbed a 1-0 lead.
“The first inning they hit two balls pretty softly that just happened to find holes,” Kluber said. “But (I) really didn’t try to change too much after that, just tried to keep going out there and make pitches.
“They scored a run — which we didn’t want — but it wasn’t because they were hitting the ball all over the yard.”
Chicago’s edge was short-lived as Cleveland scored twice in the second inning, added single runs in the third and sixth and put the game out of reach with a three-run seventh. The Indians padded their lead in the sixth inning as Lonnie Chisenhall’s one-out sacrifice off reliever Mike Montgomery plated Francisco Lindor to make it 4-1.
In the seventh, Kipnis clubbed a three-run homer to right off Travis Wood, the fourth Chicago pitcher of the night. Kipnis’ third postseason home run drove in pinch hitter Coco Crisp, who had doubled, and Rajai Davis, who was hit by a Justin Grimm pitch.
The Cubs collected a late run on Dexter Fowler’s solo homer in the eighth.
Kipnis went 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored while Carlos Santana also had three hits, including a second-inning home run.
Kluber threw 81 pitches before being lifted for Crisp.
“I thought Kluber was tremendous,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He had to work early (and) he didn’t have his beat breaking ball. (But) I thought later in the game he sort of defined it.”
Fowler’s leadoff home run in the eighth off Cleveland reliever Andrew Miller was the first run the left-hander has allowed in 16 postseason innings.
Miller, who worked two innings of relief in his second straight appearance, could also be in the mix again for Sunday.
“He’ll be able to be used tomorrow,” Francona said. “We might flip-flop he and Cody Allen.”
Chicago starter John Lackey worked five innings and took the loss.
“We gave up the homer (and) that ball was properly struck,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “The other run we kind of gave to them. The ball never left the infield and they got another run. … The last two innings (Lackey) ended up pitching his best ball. He was putting the ball on the ground, there was batter sink on it. He found his groove.”
Chicago may have its backs to the wall facing elimination but Rizzo said the Cubs will approach Game 5 the same way they’ve done since April.
“Tomorrow night we’re going to come in and play nine innings of baseball,” he said. “We’re going to leave it all out there and that’s it.”
NOTES: SS Francisco Lindor came into Game 4 with the hottest bat among Cleveland regulars, hitting .357 in 11 postseason games with two homers and four RBIs. … The Indians have posted five shutout wins during the 2016 postseason. Friday’s 1-0 victory was the 25th all-time in World Series history but just the second in the past 20 years. … Retired U.S. Supreme Court judge John Paul Stevens, 96, was in attendance Saturday. Stevens, a Chicago native, attended a 1932 World Series at Wrigley Field. … Chicago has eight games with five or more runs scored and just three total runs in six other games this postseason, including four shutout losses. … RHP John Lackey, Saturday’s starter for the Cubs, has made 23 postseason starts, the most among active big-league pitchers. … Despite a .065 postseason batting average, RF Jason Heyward returned to the Cubs lineup on Saturday and went 2-for-4. … Cleveland sends RHP Trevor Bauer (0-1, 5.00 ERA postseason) against Chicago LHP Jon Lester (2-1, 1.69 ERA) in Sunday’s Game 5. Bauer last pitched on Wednesday while Lester started the previous night.