Cubs are moving on to November
Chapman delivers 8-out save to keep their dream alive
CHICAGO — To stave off elimination from the World Series, the Cubs relied upon their two most reliable pitchers, Jon Lester and Aroldis Chapman, in a 3-2 victory over the Indians in Game 5 on Sunday night. The Cubs forced Game 6 to be played on Tuesday evening at Cleveland’s Progressive Field.
Lester provided six innings of two-run baseball. Chapman secured the final eight outs of the game, operating well outside his usual three-out stay.
The Indians struck first. Third baseman Jose Ramirez stung an 0-1 fastball at the thighs and powered the pitch into the bleachers. From left field, Ben Zobrist turned and watched the baseball disappear.
The run loomed large besides the obvious reason. At no point this postseason had the Indians secured a lead and then lost a game. Through the first three innings, starter Trevor Bauer gave up a single and struck out five, freezing the Cubs with the movement of his two-seam fastball.
The sinkers stopped sinking in the fourth. Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant battered a fastball at the belt for a game-tying homer to start the inning. On the next pitch, first baseman Anthony Rizzo made a double disappear in the ivy. When Zobrist smoked another heater into right field for a single, the Cubs had runners at the corners.
A bit of good fortune helped the club. Addison Russell, the Cubs shortstop, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant is congratulated by Anthony Rizzo after Bryant’s leadoff homer tied it in the fourth inning. collected an infield single on a swinging bunt. The ball dribbled toward third base, granting Rizzo enough time to scoot home.
Up came second baseman Javier Baez. Baez was batting .111 for the series when he decided to bunt. His placement was pristine, and he loaded the bases. A sacrifice fly by catcher David Ross added to the lead. Bauer lasted four innings.
Lester started to crack in the sixth. A leadoff single by outfielder Rajai Davis turned into a two-base play when Davis, benefiting from Lester’s inability to throw to first base, stole second. Two batters later, shortstop Francisco Lindor cut the deficit to one with an RBI single.
Lindor hoped to swipe second too. But his lead did not allow him enough space to offset the arm strength of Ross behind the plate and the nimbleness of Baez at the bag. Ross fired toward Baez, who dropped the tag in time for the third out.
Lester would not return for the seventh. Instead, Carl Edwards Jr., took his place. Edwards did not last long. He gave up a single to first baseman Mike Napoli and saw Napoli advance on a passed ball by catcher Willson Contreras, who had just replaced Ross. After a flyout by outfielder Carlos Santana, Maddon turned to Chapman.
Eight outs remained. Never before had Chapman recorded more than seven. But desperation forced Chapman outside his zone of comfort.
Chapman answered the call. He hit a batter in the seventh, but stranded both runners. Davis singled and stole two bases in the eighth. But as Davis stood at third, Chapman iced Lindor with a 102-mph fastball for a called third strike. All games on Fox Game 7 if necessary
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