After more than a week and seven games of World Series play, we finally have a champion. For the first time since 1908, the Cubs are World Series champs, taking Game 7 by an 8-7 margin over the Indians. It took 10 grueling innings.
The Cubs wasted no time getting on the board, as outfielder Dexter Fowler led off the game by drilling a Corey Kluber two-seam fastball to dead center field, just a couple of feet past the outstretched glove of Rajai Davis. For the fourth time in the series, the Cubs scored first.
Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks wasn’t his usual dominating self and he endured some sloppy defense behind him, but he was mostly able to limit the damage. The Indians pushed through for their lone run in the bottom of the third inning when Coco Crisp led off with a double, moved to third on a Roberto Perez sacrifice bunt, and scored on a Carlos Santana line drive single to right field.
In the fourth, the Cubs took a lead they wouldn’t surrender, scoring twice in the fourth. Bryant was able to sneak a single through a shift on the left side, then Kluber hit Anthony Rizzo to set up runners on first and second base with no outs. Ben Zobrist reached and moved Bryant to third base when Mike Napoli made a bad throw on what should have been a double play, getting only the force out at second base thanks to some fancy footwork by shortstop Francisco Lindor. Addison Russell then hit a shallow pop-up to right-center field just beyond the range of the shortstop. Center fielder Rajai Davis made the catch, but seemed surprise Bryant broke for home. He hesitated and then made a high throw, allowing Bryant to score and break the 1-1 tie with a nifty slide. Willson Contreras followed up by smoking a line drive to right-center field that would’ve been catchable if Davis had not initially broken in rather than back after contact was made. 3-1 Cubs.
Javier Baez made it 4-1 in the top of the fifth, swatting a home run to right-center field. That ended Kluber’s night. Lights-out reliever Andrew Miller came in, but he found himself in trouble, too. He gave up a single to Dexter Fowler, but got Kyle Schwarber to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. Bryant, however, battled Miller in a nine-pitch at-bat to ultimately draw a walk. Rizzo followed up with a single to right field and Bryant was able to come around and score the Cubs’ fifth run.
Hendricks was almost able to get through the fifth inning, inducing a ground out from Crisp and striking out Perez. But Santana battled back from 0-2 to draw a walk and manager Joe Maddon wasn’t taking any chances. Hendricks came out and Jon Lester came in for his first relief outing since the 2007 postseason. Kipnis hit a grounder between the plate and pitcher’s mound that catcher David Ross grabbed, but he fired wide of first base. Santana went to third and Kipnis to second. Lester then spiked a curve that bounced and hit Ross in the mask, caroming towards the first base dugout. Santana scored easily and Kipnis was not far behind him, sliding in just ahead of the tag to make it 5-3. Lester fanned Lindor to finally end the inning.
Ross made up for his defensive miscue by swatting a one-out solo homer off of Miller in the sixth, pushing the Cubs’ lead to six runs at 6-3. In doing so, he became the oldest player (at 39 years old) to homer in a World Series Game 7.
Lester remained in the game for the sixth. He struck out Napoli and got Ramirez to ground out before yielding a single to Brandon Guyer. But this time, the two-out runner didn’t amount to anything as Davis grounded out to end the inning. In the seventh, Lester worked around a one-out walk to Perez, getting Santana to ground out and Kipnis to strike out.
Maddon again sent Lester back out for the eighth. He got Santana to ground out, then struck out Napoli looking. Ramirez kept the inning alive with an infield single, ending Lester’s night. Closer Aroldis Chapman jogged to the mound. After getting four outs on Tuesday, he wasn’t as sharp nor did he have his trademark velocity. Sitting in the high 90’s rather than the low 100’s, Chapman gave up an RBI double to Guyer, then served up a two-run home run down the left field line to Davis, knotting the game at six apiece.
The game would remain tied from there, with Maddon leaning on Chapman once again in the bottom of the ninth. Luckily for the Cubs, he was able to navigate through the frame with no scary moments. Before the 10th inning, the game entered a brief rain delay.
Once play resumed, Schwarber led off with a single to right field off of Bryan Shaw. He was replaced by pinch-runner Albert Almora, Jr. Bryant flied out to deep right-center, just a few feet shy of a home run, but Almora tagged up and advanced to second base on the play. Shaw then intentionally walked Rizzo with a base open to bring up Zobrist. Zobrist slapped a double down the left field line, plating Almora with a double. Shaw filled the bases by intentionally walking Russell. Miguel Montero then ripped a single to left field to make it 8-6. Shaw was able to get out of the inning from there, striking out Heyward and getting Baez to fly out.
In the bottom of the 10th, 25-year-old reliever Carl Edwards, Jr. entered the game looking to get the save. He struck out Napoli to start the inning. Ramirez grounded out for the second out. Edwards walked Guyer to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Davis. Davis ripped a line drive single up the middle to plate Guyer, cutting it to 8-7. Edwards excited, lefty Mike Montgomery entered to face Michael Martinez. Martinez weakly grounded to Bryant, who threw to Rizzo at first base to seal the World Series for the Cubs.
The curse is over. For the first time since 1908, the Cubs have won the World Series. Thus ends a truly thrilling World Series. A thrilling postseason overall for that matter. Hopefully you had as much fun following it as we did.