The atmosphere in Wrigleyville was electric all day Friday as fans flocked to the area to be a part of the Cubs’ first World Series home game since 1945.
If only their offense had been a part of it, too.
Josh Tomlin and three relievers combined to shut out the Cubs in Game 3, taking a 1-0 decision thanks to Coco Crisp’s seventh-inning RBI single.
Now the Cubs face the same scenario they did in the NLCS against the Dodgers, trailing the best-of-seven series, 2-1. Oh yeah, and they have Corey Kluber coming back for Game 4 on three days rest after throwing six-plus scoreless innings in Game 1, lowering his postseason ERA this month to 0.74.
“I don’t think anybody is going to hang their head after today,” Cubs left fielder Ben Zobrist said. “It’s one game. We’re still in a good position. We knew we were going to have to beat Kluber anyway.”
Unlike in the NLCS, the Cubs will play the next two games at home, though they’ll have to return to Cleveland to close it out if they are to win it all for the first time since 1908.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “We’ve been in this situation before in the last series, so we have to come back and do what we do.”
Kyle Hendricks and the Chicago bullpen deserved a better fate after holding Cleveland to one run, but the Cubs – who were shutout only six times all season – were blanked for the fourth time in their last eight games.
The Cubs had a chance in the ninth after Rizzo led off with a single and Jason Heyward reached on Mike Napoli’s two-out error. But Cody Allen finished off his four-out save, striking out Javier Baez for the final out with the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position.
“We made it interesting there in the ninth,” Rizzo said. “I really thought we were going to come through there, but we didn’t.”
History says the Cubs have about a 1-in-3 chance of pulling off the series comeback. Of the 57 previous times the World Series has been tied 1-1, the Game 3 victor has gone on to win the title 37 times (64.9%), including 11 of the last 14 dating back to 1980.
“We’ll learn from tonight, come back, and be ready to play tomorrow,” manager Joe Maddon said. “We were in the same situation versus the Dodgers a couple days ago. So I know that’s not going to really bother our players too much.”
With a stiff wind blowing out to center field at 14 miles per hour, everybody in the ballpark figured it would be a high-scoring affair. Yet in the fifth inning, neither Hendricks nor Tomlin had allowed a run.
Neither would survive the fifth, either.
After Hendricks loaded the bases with one out, Justin Grimm – who did not induce a double play this year in 56 innings – got Francisco Lindor to ground into a 4-6-3, ending the threat to keep the game scoreless.
In the bottom of the inning, the Cubs had a runner at second and two out for pinch-hitter Miguel Montero, so Terry Francona summoned Andrew Miller from the bullpen.
Montero lined out to right field to end the inning, resulting in the first World Series game since 2012 to be scoreless after five innings.
“Just speaks to the quality of the pitching,” Maddon said. “We’ve got both starters out early, but the bullpens did magnificent jobs, too.”
Carl Edwards Jr. tossed a perfect sixth, though Miller did him one better by striking out the top three hitters in the Cubs lineup in the bottom of the inning.
Edwards Jr. wasn’t as fortunate in the seventh, putting runners at the corners with two out. Crisp lined a pinch-hit single to right field to plate the game’s first run. Jorge Soler made a great throw to third to nail Davis for the second out to help the Cubs get out of the inning without further damage, but they now faced a one-run deficit.
Soler hit a two-out triple in the seventh when Lonnie Chisenhall pulled up on his fly ball down the right-field line, but Baez couldn’t get him home.
Not even Kyle Schwarber could make a difference, hitting a broken-bat pop up during his pinch-hitting appearance in the eighth.
The Cubs tried to rally in the ninth, but it was not meant to be. Now they get to face Kluber, hoping the short rest works to their sdvantage.
“He’s coming off three days rest, so he’s not going to be as sharp as he was in the first game,” Rizzo said. “At least I’m trying to convince myself of that.”
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News