From clutch hits to errors to heartbreaking moments all around, this World Series Game 7 had absolutely everything.
Not one week ago, the Chicago Cubs found themselves down 3-1 in this best-of-seven series versus the Cleveland Indians. With their last chance to win a World Series game in Chicago, the Cubs pull off a win forcing the series back to Cleveland, winning Game 6 as well.
There have been more than a few seven-game series in baseball over the years, but very few have carried the weight of a Cubs/Indians matchup. This weight being, of course, a 68-year drought for the Indians and 108 for the Cubs.
The Indians have shown a lot of power and timely hitting in these playoffs, very much proving why they deserved a shot at the championship trophy. Leading the way was their 2014 Cy Young winning ace Corey Kluber, who had already started both games one and five. The Cubs went to work quickly, as leadoff man Dexter Fowler took Kluber deep in the first at-bat of the game. Kyle Hendricks took the mound for the Cubs, faring somewhat better than his counterpart but still giving up an RBI single to Carlos Santana in the third inning. The Cubs then opened up the game in the next inning with an Addison Russell sacrifice fly and a Willson Contreras RBI double. Neither starting pitcher went further than the fourth inning.
Both squads delved deep into their respective pitching staffs, pitting outstanding hurler versus outstanding hurler. The Indians’ Andrew Miller, who had previously allowed only one run in this postseason, gave up two home runs and an RBI single in two innings; his counterpart Jon Lester didn’t fare much better, allowing two runs to score on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The Cubs led 6-3 going into the eighth inning, but normally reliable reliever Aroldis Chapman came in and gave up not only an RBI double but also a Rajai Davis two-run home run that tied the game up at 6-6.
Valiant attempts to score followed, but the game went into extra innings regardless of both teams’ efforts. A 17-minute rain delay followed the ninth inning, and when play resumed the Indians put in reliever Bryan Shaw. After intentionally walking Anthony Rizzo with pinch-runner Albert Almora on second base, Ben Zobrist hit an RBI double and Miguel Montero a bases-loaded RBI single.
With a two-run leading heading into the bottom of the tenth inning, the Cubs gave first year man Carl Edwards, Jr., a shot at closing out the game. Davis got his third RBI of the game on an RBI single, and with two out, Cubs manager Joe Madden sent Mike Montgomery in to secure the final out. Montgomery induced a weak grounder to third baseman Kris Bryant, who tossed to Rizzo at first to complete the 8-7 victory. Chapman nabbed the win, Shaw was tagged with the loss, and Montgomery earned the save. The World Series MVP went to Cubs super-utility man Ben Zobrist. Indians skipper Terry Francona managed a fantastic postseason, but in the end it was Maddon’s work that won the day.
This series was about faith and hope. It was about believing and experiencing the dream that so many had lived their entire lives for and that some never had the chance to see. Congratulations to the 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs, lovable losers no more.