With 174 combined years of droughts between them, the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs both had a lot at stake for Game 1 of the World Series. The Cubs haven’t held the commissioner’s trophy since 1908 and haven’t even played in the World Series since 1945. Cleveland won its last title in 1948 and played as recently as 1997, losing to the Florida Marlins in seven games.
After a 1-2-3 inning by Corey Kluber, Jon Lester countered by retiring the first two Indians he faced in the bottom half. But after a Francisco Lindor single and a pair of walks to Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana, Jose Ramirez tapped a slow roller to Kris Bryant but made it safe without a throw to drive in the first run of the World Series. Brandon Guyer took one for the team off the back of his leg to force in the second run of the inning. After one, the Indians held a 2-0 lead.
Ben Zobrist led off the top of the second with a double but was stranded there after three consecutive strikeouts. Kluber looked absolutely dominant early on, setting a World Series record by striking out eight Cubs through the first three innings.
Kyle Schwarber struck out in his first at bat since April 7, when he tore his ACL and MCL in a collision in the outfield. But he looked like his old self after sending a towering shot to left field his second at bat, which would hit off of the top of the wall.
Schwarber would coast into second for a double, but was stranded there. He also became the first position player without a hit in the regular season to record a hit in the World Series in baseball history.
Roberto Perez came up in the bottom of the fourth and lined a solo home run just above the wall in right field off the railing. His solo shot increased the Tribe’s lead to 3-0.
Lester’s night ended in the top of the sixth, allowing three runs on six hits over 5.2 innings, while striking out seven and walking three. Lester was charged with the loss.
Kluber’s night ended after giving up a leadoff single to Zobrist in the top of the seventh. His final line was 6+ innings, four hits, and nine strikeouts while walking none and not giving up a run, and collected the win.
ALCS MVP Andrew Miller relieved Kluber, walking Schwarber and allowing a single to Javier Baez to load the bases. Willson Contreras flied out to shallow center field and Addison Russell struck out to bring up veteran backstop David Ross with two outs and the bases loaded. On a 3-2 count, Miller struck out Ross on a slider to escape the jam still leading, 3-0.
Miller was unlike himself of Game 1 of the World Series, going two innings, allowing two hits, two walks and striking out three. Miller threw a season high 47 pitches over his outing.
With runners of first and second, Perez took a hanging Hector Rondon breaking ball deep into the left field seats. His second home run of the game gave the Tribe a 6-0 lead. Perez becomes the third Indian to record a multiple home run game in the postseason, joining Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez.
Cody Allen would come in to shut the door in the ninth to secure a 6-0 win and give Cleveland a 1-0 World Series lead. Game 2, which was originally scheduled for 8:08 ET, has been moved up an hour to 7:08, due to rain in the forecast.
Some fun World Series Game 1 stats:
There have now been 17 shutouts in Game 1 of the World Series. Of the previous 16, nine have come back to win the Series, most recently in 1986. The New York Mets lost, 1-0, in Game 1 but won the series in seven memorable games.
Teams who have won Game 1 have gone on to win the last six World Series, and 24 of the last 28. Teams who have won Game 1 of the World Series are 70-40 overall.