Chicago Cubs 9, Cleveland 3
When: 8:00 PM ET, Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Where: Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio
CLEVELAND – (Wire Service Report) – The two major league teams with the longest World Series droughts battled through six games, winning three games apiece. Wednesday night, it is winner take all.
Addison Russell’s grand slam capped a seven-run assault over the first three innings as the Chicago Cubs rolled to a 9-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday to even the World Series. The teams will play a decisive Game 7 on Wednesday night at Progressive Field. The Cubs will attempt to become the sixth team in history to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a World Series.
The Cubs haven’t won the World Series since 1908, and the Indians haven’t won the championship since 1948.
“It’s been a well-contested series between two outstanding teams,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “Maybe it’s apt that we go seven games.”
Indians manager Terry Francona said, “Tonight was a tough night, but it’s an honor to be a part of this. It will be exciting to come to the ballpark tomorrow. Shoot, I just might wear my uniform home.”
Kris Bryant had four hits, including a home run, for the Cubs, who capitalized on a huge defensive misplay by the Cleveland outfield that led to a three-run first inning. A catchable fly ball hit by Russell that would have been the third out of the inning dropped in safely between center fielder Tyler Naquin and right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall, allowing two runs to score and giving the Cubs a 3-0 lead that deflated the sellout crowd.
Russell, who was just 4-for-19 (.211) in the first five games of the Series, went 2-for-5 with a double, a home run and a World Series record-tying six RBIs.
Most of the damage came off Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin, who was charged with six runs in 2 1/3 innings. Tomlin (0-1) allowed six hits and a walk without striking out a batter.
Cubs starter Jake Arrieta (2-0) pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks with nine strikeouts.
“When we were down 3-1 (in the series), it was take it a game at a time and try to get to Game 7, and we got there,” Bryant said.
Bryant, Anthony Rizzo (three hits, home run), Ben Zobrist and Russell were a combined 11-for-19 with three home runs and nine RBIs. Jason Kipnis had three hits for the Indians.
Tomlin retired the first two batters of the game, then threw two quick strikes past Bryant. It was all downhill from there for Cleveland. Bryant hit a 0-2 hanging curveball an estimated 433 feet into the left field bleachers.
“A hanging curve is my favorite pitch to hit,” Bryant said. “There’s a good chance it’s going to go far.”
Rizzo followed with a line-drive single to center, and Zobrist lined a single to right, putting runners at first and third with two outs.
Russell then hit a fly ball. Naquin and Chisenhall converged on the ball, but neither one caught it. The ball dropped between the two miscommunicating fielders for a gift double, scoring Rizzo and Zobrist and giving Chicago a quick 3-0 lead.
“I thought it would be caught,” Russell said. “It was a routine play.”