Cubs end their cen­tury of mis­ery

Game 7 clas­sic fin­ishes drought af­ter 107 years

Baltimore Sun - - WORLD SERIES - By Andy McCul­lough

CLEVE­LAND — To end a 107-year cham­pi­onship drought, the Cubs ab­sorbed a se­ries of knock­out blows from the In­di­ans, sur­vived a col­lapse by their flamethrow­ing closer and weath­ered a storm sweep­ing off Lake Erie in an 8-7, 10in­ning vic­tory in Game 7 of the World Se­ries.

Ben Zo­brist etched his name into Chicago’s lore with a go-ahead RBI dou­ble in the 10th in­ning. An­other sin­gle from veteran Miguel Mon­tero added to the lead. For the first time all se­ries, Cleve­land could not mount a come­back. They had al­ready achieved so much, but they could go no fur­ther, even af­ter Ra­jai Davis added to his hero­ics on the evening with an RBI sin­gle off Cubs re­liever Carl Ed­wards, Jr.

Af­ter Davis’ hit, Mike Mont­gomery be­came an an­swer to a trivia ques­tion for eter­nity. He was the man who recorded the fi­nal out when the Cubs broke their streak of fu­til­ity. He in­duced a ground­out from Michael Martinez to end the game.

The In­di­ans erased a three-run deficit in the eighth against Jon Lester, a starter forced into re­lief duty, and closer Aroldis Chap­man. Chap­man en­tered the game with two outs and a run­ner at first base. Then he served up an RBI dou­ble to out­fielder Bran­don Guyer. The next bat­ter was Davis, a man with only 55 homers on his re­sume since he de­buted in 2006.

Never be­fore had Davis home­red in a play­off game. Ben Zo­brist cel­e­brates his RBI dou­ble in the 10th in­ning, the go-ahead run in the Cubs’ World Se­ries-clinch­ing vic­tory. That changed when he dug out a 97-mph fast­ball at the knees, tak­ing ad­van­tage of rel­a­tively re­duced ve­loc­ity from Chap­man. The ball hooked down the left-field line and clanged off the rail­ing of the el­e­vated fence. The two-run shot tied the game and ig­nited bed­lam in the ball­park.

The game ven­tured into ab­sur­dity af­ter the bot­tom of the ninth. A 22-man grounds crew rolled a tarp over the di­a­mond for a rain de­lay. The wait lasted 17 min­utes. Upon the re­sump- tion of the game, Zo­brist and the Cubs plowed through In­di­ans re­liever Bryan Shaw.

Even be­fore the eighth, the game con­tained mul­ti­tudes. In his fi­nal big-league game, Cubs backup catcher David Ross thumped a cru­cial home run. Lester ap­peared in re­lief for the first time since 2007. In­di­ans re­lief ace An­drew Miller gave up mul­ti­ple runs in a game for only the sec­ond time all sea­son. In­di­ans man­ager Terry Fran­cona re­moved his starter too late. Cubs man­ager Joe Mad­don re­moved his starter too soon.

Corey Klu­ber be­came the first pitcher to start three games in the World Se­ries since Chris Car­pen­ter did the same for St. Louis in 2011. Klu­ber won Game 1 and he won Game 4, but the sharp­ness of his pitches looked re­duced in the sec­ond game. In Game 1, he re­lied on the bite of his sinker. Three days later, he ben­e­fited from the overea­ger­ness of his op­po­nents.

By Wed­nes­day, the Cubs had shaken off their earl­y­series anx­i­ety. When Klu­ber made mis­takes, they were ready to strike. The fourth pitch of the game was a thigh-high sinker for out­fielder Dex­ter Fowler. He blasted the ball over the cen­ter-field fence. He backpedaled to ex­hort his dugout af­ter round­ing first base, while a vo­cif­er­ous group of Cubs fans roared.

Even af­ter such a start, the evening would only be­come more fas­ci­nat­ing. In­di­ans 6, Cubs 0 Game 2: Cubs 5, In­di­ans 1 Game 3: In­di­ans 1, Cubs 0 Game 4: In­di­ans 7, Cubs 2 Game 5: Cubs 3, In­di­ans 2 Cubs 9, In­di­ans 3 Game 7: Cubs 8, In­di­ans 7 (10)

BRIAN CASSELLA/CHICAGO TRI­BUNE

Game 1: Game 6:

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