The Chicago Cubs ended baseball’s longest championship drought on Wednesday night, and to do it, they extended the sport’s second-longest dry spell in excruciating fashion. The Cubs beat the Indians 8-7 in 10 innings during Game 7 of the World Series at Progressive Field in Cleveland, winning the final three games of the Fall Classic.
After 108 years, the Cubs had to not only wait for extra innings in Game 7, but also a rain delay between the ninth and the 10th innings. But in the end, it was well worth it for Chicago, thanks to a two-run rally against Bryan Shaw.
Ben Zobrist scored pinch runner Albert Almora Jr. with an RBI double in the top of the 10th inning, then Miguel Montero followed with an RBI single to pad the advantage.
Zobrist hit .357 (10-for-28) in the series, and was named World Series MVP.
Four outs from blowing a 3-1 series lead, the Indians erased a three-run deficit with two outs in the eighth inning, tying the game against Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman, headlined by a two-run game-tying home run by Rajai Davis.
For Chapman, he endured quite a workload in the final three games, throwing 5⅓ total innings and 97 pitches in four days. He ended up with the win in Game 7.
Davis drove home another run in the 10th inning with a single off Carl Edwards Jr. to pull Cleveland to within a run with two outs.
The Indians had three chances to capture their first title since 1948, but after dropping a 3-2 nail-biter in Game 5 on Sunday night at Wrigley Field, they came home to drop the final two games.
Chicago is the sixth team to win a best-of-seven World Series after facing a 3-1 deficit, and the first since the Kansas City Royals in 1985.
The Cubs’ power helped fuel their win in Game 7, with three home runs against the Indians’ best pitchers. Dexter Fowler and Javier Baez hit solo homers against Cleveland starter Corey Kluber, one of the main reasons the Indians came within one win of a title.
Kluber was pitching on short rest for the second time in the World Series, having started and won Game 1 and Game 4. He allowed four runs in his four innings in Game 7, one more run than he allowed in his first five postseason starts this year combined. Kluber also struck out zero batters for the first time in his 140 major league starts.
David Ross, the 39-year-old retiring catcher, homered in the sixth inning, the oldest player ever to homer in a World Series Game 7.
The home run for Ross was hit off Andrew Miller, Cleveland’s relief ace who was magnificent during the regular season and has been key to the team’s postseason run with 30 strikeouts in 19⅓ innings. Miller, pitching in his 10th game this October, allowed two runs on Wednesday, one more than in his previous nine appearances combined.
Just like when the Cubs trailed the National League Championship Series 2-1, they showed patience in their comeback from down 3-1 in the World Series. They possessed the confidence of a team that won 103 games during the regular season.
After scoring seven total runs in the first four games of the World Series, including two shutout losses, Chicago tallied 20 runs in the final three games.
Kyle Hendricks, the major league ERA leader during the regular season, gave the Cubs another solid performance, allowing two runs, just one earned. Hendricks had a stellar postseason of his own, giving up five total runs in five starts, sporting a 1.42 ERA.
He gave way to fellow starter Jon Lester with two outs in the fifth inning, who got the Cubs into the eighth inning. The only blemishes on Lester’s watch came on a wild pitch that bounced off Ross’s face mask and allowed two runners to score, then an inherited run that scored with two outs in the eighth.
Lester’s 55-pitch, three-inning performance was remarkable considering he won Game 5 just three days prior, when he threw 90 pitches. Lester, who also won World Series titles in 2007 and 2013 with the Red Sox, was 3-1 with a 2.02 ERA in six appearances this postseason for the Cubs.
Wednesday night was the fourth World Series Game 7 to go into extra innings, joining 1924 (Washington Senators over New York Giants in 12 innings), 1991 (Minnesota Twins over Atlanta Braves in 10), and 1997 (Florida Marlins over Indians in 11).