INDIANS TAKE GAME 1 OF THE WORLD SERIES:
Ace tallies 9 K’s, offense puts Cubs in early hole, rolls
In a matchup between the teams with baseball’s longest championship droughts, Corey Kluber pitched neatly into the seventh inning while Roberto Perez, right, hit two home runs as the Cleveland Indians beat the visiting Chicago Cubs 6-0 Tuesday night in the World Series opener.
CLEVELAND — Corey Kluber set a franchise record for strikeouts in a World Series game, Andrew Miller walked through the fire in two scoreless innings and Roberto Perez homered twice in a 6-0 Indians victory over the Cubs in Game 1 Tuesday night at Progressive Field.
Kluber struck out nine across six innings, including a Series-record eight in the first three innings, and departed after giving up a single in the seventh. Miller replaced him and placed himself in a bases-loaded jam before eventually escaping.
The Indians repeated the formula they perfected during the first two rounds of these playoffs: The offense scraped together enough production to secure an early lead against Cubs starter Jon Lester and the pitching staff held the line, unbending in the face of the sluggers from Boston, then Toronto and now Chicago.
The Indians staged a two-out rally in the first inning. The catalyst was shortstop Francisco Lindor, who poked a single up the middle, then elected to challenge Lester’s comfort holding runners.
Lester is infamous for his inability to make pickoff throws. Lindor took a sizable lead and stole second base.
After Lindor took off, Lester struggled to find his command. He walked former Red Sox teammate Mike Napoli and designated hitter Carlos Santana. Lindor scored when Jose Ra- mirez chopped an infield single in front of third baseman Kris Bryant.
Lester carried a 2.50 postseason earned-run average into the game, but his command was shaky at the start, and with the bases loaded he plunked outfielder Brandon Guyer on the leg to force in a second run.
The Indians discovered a more efficient way to score in the fourth. Lester challenged catcher Roberto Perez, the No. 9 hitter, with a fastball at the waist. Perez clanged the baseball off the fence above the elevated wall in left field for a solo home run.
Kluber suppressed the Cubs into the seventh. His 88th pitch was a slider to outfielder Ben Zobrist, who smacked a leadoff double. The hit brought Indians manager Terry Francona out of the dugout. He summoned Miller, the 6-foot-7 left-hander, owner of a malevolent slider and the MVP trophy from the AL Championship Series.
Miller eased into his latest round of dominance. He walked Kyle Schwarber, who was playing in his first game of the season after tearing his ACL in April. Then he gave up a single to second baseman Javier Baez.
The bases were loaded with none out, but no one would score. Miller induced a soft flyout from rookie Willson Contreras. He struck out shortstop Addison Russell with three sliders, and when veteran catcher David Ross could not check his swing on a 3-2 slider, Miller had escaped.
Miller created another puzzle for himself in the eighth by walking third baseman Kris Bryant and giving up a two-out single to Zobrist. Up came Schwarber, who flailed at a pair of sliders as he struck out.
Corey Kluber’s nine strikeouts and Roberto Perez’s pair of home runs helped the Indians take Game 1 of the World Series.