In­di­ans edge Cubs to seize World Se­ries lead

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

For the Chicago Cubs to cap­ture their first World Se­ries since 1908 this year and snap Amer­ica’s record long­est sports ti­tle drought, they must win it in Cleve­land af­ter los­ing 1-0 Fri­day to the In­di­ans at Wrigley Field.

Coco Crisp sin­gled home Michael Martinez in the sev­enth in­ning for the only run as the In­di­ans, de­spite strand­ing seven base run­ners, won the first World Se­ries game at 102-year-old Wrigley Field since 1945. “That’s a heck of a win,” In­di­ans man­ager Terry Fran­cona said. “We needed some­thing, any­thing just to put a run across and our staff made it hold up, which was a re­mark­able ef­fort.”

Cleve­land grabbed a 2-1 lead over the Cubs in Ma­jor League Base­ball’s best-of-seven cham­pi­onship show­down, which con­tin­ues Satur­day and Sun­day in Chicago then re­turns to Cleve­land if more games are needed.

The In­di­ans, seek­ing their first World Se­ries crown since 1948, took their fifth play­off shutout vic­tory, a ma­jor league record for a sin­gle post­sea­son cam­paign, and their sec­ond Se­ries blank­ing of the Cubs. “We’ll learn from tonight, come back and be ready to play to­mor­row,” Cubs man­ager Joe Mad­don said. “We’re see­ing good pitch­ing. We have to ad­just to it.”

Tribe re­lief pitcher Cody Allen es­caped a last gasp by Chicago in the ninth, strik­ing out Javier Baez to end the game with the po­ten­tial ty­ing run stranded on third base.

“We were in a lit­tle bit of a jam there. That’s one of those sit­u­a­tions you think about through­out the sea­son or spring train­ing or even as a kid. You play that over in your mind,” Allen said.

“All you’re try­ing to do is slow the game down as much as pos­si­ble and just try to make one good pitch. Then you just try to make an­other one. So we were for­tu­nate enough to string a few good pitches to­gether there and get the last out.” In all, four Cleve­land pitch­ers struck out eight bat­ters and scat­tered five hits. The Cubs still have won only two World Se­ries games at Wrigley Field, game six in 1945 and game five in 1935, both over Detroit.

The game was de­cided when Cleve­land’s Roberto Perez sin­gled and was re­placed by In­di­ans pinch-run­ner Martinez, who took sec­ond base on Tyler Naquin’s sac­ri­fice and third on a wild pitch by Cubs re­lief pitcher Carl Ed­wards.

Af­ter a pick­off try failed fol­low­ing a video re­view, Martinez scored on pinch-hit­ter Crisp’s sin­gle to right field. “Com­ing here and see­ing all that blue in the stands, you know the sup­port for the Cubs is world­wide,” Crisp said. “Com­ing in here and get­ting the vic­tory is big for us.”

The In­di­ans did not man­age an­other hit but didn’t need it. Anthony Rizzo led off the ninth for the Cubs with a sin­gle to left field, bring­ing the crowd to its feet for good.

The po­ten­tial ty­ing run ad­vanced to sec­ond on a Wil­son Con­tr­eras ground out and took third af­ter Ja­son Hey­ward reached base on a field­ing er­ror by Cleve­land first base­man Mike Napoli.

But Baez, who grounded out to end the eighth in­ning with the po­ten­tial ty­ing run on third base, was struck out by Allen to send most of the 41,703 spec­ta­tors home dis­ap­pointed.

“To be on the field, live that mo­ment of get­ting the last out and feel­ing the emo­tions of get­ting a win, that’s a spe­cial feel­ing,” Allen said.

STARTERS BAFFLE SLUG­GERS

Chicago start­ing pitcher Kyle Hen­dricks struck out six but sur­ren­dered six hits and two walks over 4 1/3 in­nings. Cleve­land starter Josh Tom­lin, who won his two prior play­off starts, al­lowed two hits with one walk and one strike­out over 4 2/3 in­nings. Satur­day’s start­ing pitch­ers will be Cubs right-han­der John Lackey, a two-time World Se­ries cham­pion, and Cleve­land right-han­der Corey Klu­ber, an 18-game win­ner who is 3-1 in the play­offs but who will be throw­ing on short rest af­ter win­ning Tues­day’s opener.— AFP

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