CLEVELAND (AP) Cubs fans can now forget about billy goats and Bartman. The Curse has been laid to rest by Ben Zobrist.
The Cubs are World Series champions for the first time in 108 years after Zobrist delivered a tiebreaking double off losing pitcher Brian Shaw in the 10th inning to lead an 8-7 victory over the Indians in Cleveland. Zobrist is now the toast of Chicago and the World Series MVP, less than 11 months after signing a free-agent contract and one year after helping the Royals win the Fall Classic.
The rally began following a brief rain delay between the ninth and 10th innings. Kyle Schwarber got things started with a leadoff single before pinch-runner Albert Almora Jr. took second on a fly ball. Anthony Rizzo was walked intentionally to set up a potential inning-ending double play, but Zobrist ripped a base hit down the left-field line. Miguel Montero followed with a RBI single two batters later, a hit that would become crucial.
Fittingly, the Cubs won it the hard way. Carl Edwards Jr. was one out from earning the save until Rajai (RAH’-zhay) Davis poked a RBI single following a walk by Brandon Guyer (GY’-ur). Davis also tied the game with an eighth-inning homer.
The Cubs also enjoyed leads of 5-1 and 6-3 before the Indians got to Aroldis (ah-ROHL’-dihs) Chapman in a three-run eighth. The game-tying rally began with an infield single by Jose Ramirez that skipped off of shortstop Javier Baez with two out. Guyer followed with a RBI double and scored on the home run by Davis.
Chapman managed to get credit for the victory by working a scoreless ninth in the Cubs’ third consecutive win. Mike Montgomery got Michael Martinez to ground out to third, touching off celebrations throughout the Windy City.
Dexter Fowler, Javier Baez and David Ross supplied solo homers for Chicago, which trailed three games to one in the series. Fowler led off the game with a blast, Baez made it 4-1 in the fifth and Ross added an insurance blast the next inning.
It was 5-1 for the Cubs in the fifth until Jon Lester uncorked a wild pitch that allowed two runs to score. Lester entered the game with two runners on base and worked three innings after Kyle Hendricks pitched the first 4 2/3s.
Indians starter Corey Kluber struggled over four-plus innings after getting the victory in the opener and Game 4. Kluber was charged with four runs on six hits without striking out a batter.
It’s the second time the Indians have lost Game 7 of a World Series in extra innings. They also did it in their last Fall Classic, losing to the Marlins in 1997. The latest setback continues a champion drought that began with their 1948 World Series win over the Boston Braves.
The Indians are the seventh team to lose a World Series after taking a three-games-to-one lead, and the first since the 1985 Cardinals against the Royals.
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