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Cubs ride big fourth inning, defeat Indians 3-2 to force Game 6 of the World Series

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As has been the case throughout the World Series for the Cubs, runs were hard to come by, but they found just enough in Game 5 to eke past the Indians 3-2 to force the World Series back to Cleveland for Game 6 and, if necessary, Game 7.

Jon Lester made the start for the Cubs and was sharp early, striking out the side in the first inning. Jose Ramirez blasted a solo homer to left field off of him in the second inning to give the Indians an early 1-0 lead, but the Cubs broke out in the fourth to give him some breathing room.

Facing starter Trevor Bauer, Kris Bryant led off the bottom of the fourth with a line drive home run to left-center, tying the game at one apiece. Anthony Rizzo followed up with a double to right field that was very nearly a home run. Ben Zobrist then singled to right field, pushing Rizzo to third base. Rizzo scored shortly thereafter on an Addison Russell infield single to the left side. After Jason Heyward struck out for the first run of the inning, Javier Baez laid down a perfect bunt to third baseman Jose Ramirez to load the bases. David Ross brought in the Cubs’ third run by lifting a sacrifice fly to left field.

Bauer went four innings, giving up three runs on six hits with on walks and seven strikeouts on 74 pitches.

The Indians closed the gap in the bottom of the sixth, as Rajai Davis singled to left field and then stole second base. After Jason Kipnis struck out for out number two, Francisco Lindor knocked Davis in with a single to center field, cutting the Cubs’ lead to 3-2.

Lester didn’t come back out to the mound for the seventh as he was double-switched out when Miguel Montero pinch-hit for Ross in the bottom of the sixth. Lester’s final line: 6 innings, four hits, two earned runs, no walks, and five strikeouts on 90 pitches.

Reliever Carl Edwards, Jr. got into a bit of trouble starting off the seventh, allowing a single to Mike Napoli, then letting him advance to second on a passed ball. Manager Joe Maddon decided to let his closer handle this sticky one-out situation, so Aroldis Chapman entered the game. He struck out Ramirez, hit Brandon Guyer with a pitch, and ended the inning by getting Roberto Perez to ground out.

Chapman remained in the game for the eighth. He fanned Yan Gomes, but then failed to cover first base on what should’ve been out number two, a ground ball to Rizzo at first base hit by Davis. Chapman, however, didn’t cover the bag, allowing Davis to reach safely. Davis promptly stole second base to put the tying run in scoring position. Kipnis fouled out to left field for the second out. Davis stole yet another base (his third of the night), jogging easily into third base on the first pitch to Lindor. Chapman was able to see himself out, though, by planting a slider on the outside corner for strike three and out three.

Shockingly, Maddon allowed Chapman to hit for himself in the bottom of the eighth with a runner on second base and two outs against Cody Allen. Heyward stole second base as the count went even on Chapman, but he then meekly waved at strike three to bring the game into the ninth.

Chapman, on for his third inning of work, got Napoli to ground out for the first out of the ninth. Carlos Santana popped out to right field for the second out. Finally, letting everyone at Wrigley Field exhale, Chapman got Ramirez to strike out to end the game. In his 2 2/3 innings, Chapman faced 10 batters, hitting one and allowing one hit while striking out four on 42 pitches.

The Cubs and Indians will take Monday off to travel. Game 6 of the World Series will take place at Progressive Field on Tuesday (November 1st!) at 8 PM EDT. Neither team has officially announced a starter yet.

Indians send down Clevinger, Plesac after virus blunder

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
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CLEVELAND — After hearing Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac explain their actions, the Cleveland Indians sent the pitchers to their alternate training site on Friday after the two broke team rules and Major League Baseball coronavirus protocol last weekend in Chicago.

Clevinger and Plesac drove to Detroit separately with their baseball equipment on Thursday for an “open forum” meeting at the team’s hotel before the Indians opened a series with the Tigers.

Indians President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti said following “the discussion” that he met with manager Terry Francona, general manager Mike Chernoff and decided it was best to option Plesac and Clevinger to the alternate training site instead of allowing them to rejoin the team.

“We had a chance to meet as small group and decided this would be the best path of action for us,” Antonetti said.

So before the opener, the Indians activated Clevinger and Plesac from the restricted list and optioned them to Lake County.

It’s a stunning slide for the right-handers and close friends, both considered important pieces for the Indians. There’s no indication when they may be back on Cleveland’s roster. They’ll have to be at Lake County for at least 10 days.

Last weekend, the pitchers broke the team’s code of conduct implemented during the pandemic by leaving the team hotel and having dinner and socializing with friends of Plesac’s and risking contracting the virus.

While the Indians got a car service to take Plesac back to Cleveland, Clevinger flew home with the team after not telling the Indians he had been out with his teammate.

Although both players have twice tested negative for COVID-19 this week, the Indians aren’t ready to have them back.

Earlier this week, pitcher Adam Plutko said he felt betrayed.

“They hurt us bad,” Plutko said after Cleveland’s lost 7-1 to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. “They lied to us. They sat here in front of you guys and publicly said things that they didn’t follow through on.”

Antonetti was asked if there are still hard feeling in the clubhouse toward the pair.

“We’re all a family,” Antonetti said. “We spend a lot of time together. Sometimes there are challenges in families you have to work through. I’d use that analogy as it applies here. There are things that have happened over the course of the last week that have been less than ideal and people have some thoughts and feelings about that.”

Both Clevinger and Plesac issued apologies in the days after their missteps. However, on Thursday, the 25-year-old Plesac posted a six-minute video on Instagram in which he acknowledged breaking team curfew but then aimed blame at the media, saying he and Clevinger were being inaccurately portrayed as “bad people.”

Antonetti said he watched the video.

“I’m not sure Zach was able to convey what he intended to convey in the video after having a chance to speak with him afterwards,” he said. “I think if he had a do-over, he may have said things a bit differently.”

Francona also felt Plesac could have chosen a better way to handle the aftermath.

“I was disappointed,” he said.