A patient offense and an effectively wild but dominant start by Jake Arrieta were more than enough to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 5-1 win over the Cleveland Indians in Game 2 of the World Series at Progressive Field on Wednesday night, evening the Fall Classic at one game apiece.
Chicago recorded its first World Series victory since Game 6 in 1945, and scored their first run in the Fall Classic since Game 7 that year.
The Cubs set a World Series record with six players 25 or younger in their starting lineup in Game 2 — 22-year-old Addison Russell at shortstop, 23-year-olds Javier Baez at second base and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter, and 24-year-olds Kris Bryant at third, Willson Contreras at catcher, and Jorge Soler in right field — but it was the old men Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist who paced the offense on Wednesday night.
The 27-year-old first baseman Rizzo doubled to right field to score Bryant in the first inning, then walked and scored on a single by Schwarber in the third, and finally walked and scored again on a triple by the 35-year-old Zobrist in the fifth.
Zobrist was 2-for-4 with a walk on the night while Rizzo was 1-for-3 with two walks, two runs scored, and an RBI.
The young ones were factors too, of course, with Schwarber delivering a pair of RBI singles, continuing one of the most remarkable comeback stories in World Series history. Schwarber blew out his left knee in April in the third game of the regular season, totaling just five plate appearances in two games. So far in the World Series, Schwarber is 3-for-7 (.429) with a double and two walks.
It was only a matter of time before the Cubs offense came alive. After all, they ranked third in the majors averaging 4.99 runs per game during the regular season. They were shut out twice by the Los Angeles Dodgers during the NLCS, running into back-to-back great outings by Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill, but then exploded for 23 runs to win the next three games to advance to their first World Series in 71 years.
It was more than enough for Arrieta, who didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning while striking out six for the win.
Indians starter Trevor Bauer had no problems with the cut on his left hand that forced him to leave his start in Game 3 of the ALCS after just four batters. But thanks to a patient Cubs offense that ran up his pitch count, Bauer’s night was done after just 3⅔ innings and 87 pitches in Game 2.
First for Francona
Indians manager Terry Francona is in his third World Series as a manager, having won championships in 2004 and 2007 with the Boston Red Sox. Both of those series ended in sweeps, and Francona was 9-0 in Fall Classic games before Wednesday’s loss. But not only that, Game 2 was just the second time in 10 World Series games in which Francona even trailed.
This is 2nd time a Terry Francona-managed team has trailed in a World Series game. Other instance 2007 (Red Sox vs Rockies- Game 2)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 26, 2016
The World Series shifts to Wrigley Field for the next three games, with Game 3 on Friday night in Chicago. Josh Tomlin starts for the Indians and Kyle Hendricks for the Cubs. First pitch on Friday night is scheduled for 8:08 p.m. ET.