Cubs end their century of misery
Game 7 classic finishes drought after 107 years
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)
Game 1: Game 6: