Ace tal­lies 9 K’s, of­fense puts Cubs in early hole, rolls

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Andy McCul­lough andy.mccul­lough@la­

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.

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