CLEVELAND — Are there two better words in sports than Game 7?
The Cubs did their part to push the World Series to the limit, slugging their way to a 9-3 win over the Indians in Game 6 Tuesday night to set up a winner-take-all contest Wednesday at Progressive Field.
Addison Russell hit a grand slam and tied a World Series record with six RBI, helping the Cubs jump out to a seven-run lead by the third inning. Kris Bryant went 4-for-5 with a home run and Anthony Rizzo had three hits, including a cherry-on-top, two-run shot in the ninth.
Jake Arrieta threw 5.2 innings of two-run ball to earn his second win of the series, while Aroldis Chapman got four huge outs in the seventh and eighth to keep the Tribe from any thoughts of a comeback.
That sets up a Game 7 showdown Wednesday night between former AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, who will be pitching on short rest for the second time in the series, and Kyle Hendricks, who led the NL in ERA this season.
“This is the ultimate dream,” Hendricks said. “You dream of getting to the World Series, winning the World Series. When you’re out in your backyard as a kid, playing Little League at the field with your friends, this is the moment you dream about, Game 7, 3-2, two outs, something like that, bottom of the ninth. But it’s always Game 7 of the World Series.”
This marks only the third Game 7 in the past 14 Fall Classics. If it’s anywhere near as memorable as Madison Bumgarner’s performance for the Giants against the Royals two years ago, baseball fans are in for quite a night.
One way or another, a lengthy championship drought will end Wednesday night: the Cubs haven’t won it all in 108 years, while the Indians own a 68-year title-less streak.
A Cubs win in Game 7 would make them only the fourth team in history and the first since the 1979 Pirates to come back from a 3-1 deficit by winning the final two games on the road. Overall, nine of the last 11 teams to lose Game 6 while leading the series 3-2 have gone on to lose Game 7.
Jake Arrieta tossed 5 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on three hits with nine strikeouts.
(Jason Miller/Getty Images)
The Cubs jumped on Indians righthander Josh Tomlin early and often, starting with a two-out, two-strike hanging curveball that Bryant drilled 433 feet to left field.
Rizzo and Ben Zobrist followed with singles, then Russell hit what appeared to be a routine fly to right-center. But Tyler Naquin and Lonnie Chisenhall got crossed up while going for the ball, which dropped between them, allowing both baserunners to score, though not before Zobrist collided hard with catcher Roberto Perez at the plate.
Two innings later, the Cubs loaded the bases with one out on a Kyle Schwarber walk and singles by Rizzo and Zobrist. Terry Francona lifted Tomlin for righty Dan Otero, ending the starter’s night after only 2.1 innings.
Three pitches later, Russell drilled a grand slam to center field — the first ever hit by a Cubs player in the World Series — to boost the lead to seven, effectively taking any drama out of this elimination game.
Tyler Naquin (l.) miscommunicated with Lonnie Chisenhall on a first-inning fly ball.
Cleveland didn’t get its first hit against Arrieta until Jason Kipnis’ leadoff double in the fourth. He scored on Mike Napoli’s single to put the Indians on the board, then Arrieta hit Chisenhall and walked Coco Crisp with two out, loading the bases.
The home crowd began to buzz for the first time since the opening inning, but Arrieta struck out Naquin to strand all three runners, leaving the Tribe with a six-run deficit.
“Jake inherently loves these kind of moments,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said before the game. “It’s always difficult to just look at him and see that because he’s pretty much got the same expression regardless, but I think Jake likes to shoulder these kind of moments.”
Arrieta gave up a solo shot by Kipnis in the fifth that cut the lead to 7-2, but the righthander pitched into the sixth before handing the lead to the bullpen.
The Indians put two runners on against Mike Montgomery with two out in the seventh, prompting Maddon to bring in Chapman to clean up the mess.
Chapman got Francisco Lindor to hit a grounder to Rizzo, but unlike the other night, the pitcher hustled to cover first base. Rizzo flipped the ball to Chapman, but first-base umpire Sam Holbrook called Lindor safe.
Maddon challenged the call, which was overturned, ending the threat with the five-run lead intact. Chapman walked off the field gingerly as he appeared to tweak his left knee, but he came back for the eighth and got three more outs, getting a broken-bat, inning ending double play against Yan Gomes on a 102 mph fastball.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News