The World Series will move to Wrigley Field even at a game apiece after the Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians 5-1 Wednesday night.
Cubs starter Jake Arrieta held the Indians hitless through 5 1/3 innings in Cleveland and Kyle Schwarber continued to show no ill effects from missing 6 months while recovering from a knee injury.
After being shut out in Game 1, Chicago went up 1-0 in the first inning on a one-out double by Anthony Rizzo that scored Kris Bryant, who had reached base on a single. Cleveland starting pitcher Trevor Bauer limited the early damage by getting Ben Zobrist to fly out to left and striking out Schwarber.
Bauer was pitching for the first time since a bleeding cut on his throwing hand forced him out after facing only four batters in his American League Championship Series Game 3 start on Oct. 17. The wound stayed close this time.
The only trouble Arrieta had in the first five innings came with two outs in the first, when he walked Francisco Lindor and Mike Napoli. Jose Ramirez then drove a 3-1 fastball to the warning track in center field, but it landed in Dexter Fowler’s glove.
The Cubs added a second run the third inning. With two outs, Bauer went up 0-2 against Rizzo, but then walked him on four straight balls. Zobrist singled on a grounder up the middle, moving Rizzo to second. Schwarber drove the lead runner in on a line-drive single to right-center. Zobrist went to third, but the next batter, Javier Baez, struck out.
Bauer was removed with two outs in the fourth after Addison Russell lined a single to center field. Right-hander Zach McCallister came in to strike out Fowler.
McCallister returned in the fifth and got Bryant on strikes, but then he allowed Rizzo to reach base for the third time with a walk. Zobrist smacked a triple down the right-field line and Rizzo scored. It might have been a double had Lonnie Chisenhall not fallen while retrieving the ball.
Indians skipper Terry Francona tried to hold the Cubs to a three-run lead by bringing in Bryan Shaw to face Schwarber. The Cubs’ designated hitter won that battle, hitting a single to center to score Zobrist. Shaw then threw a wild pitch and Schwarber moved up a base. Baez struck out and Shaw could’ve been out of the inning when Willson Contreras grounded to second. Instead, Contreras reached on a fielding error by Jason Kipnis that put runners on first and third. Shaw walked the next two batters, Jorge Soler and Russell, scoring Schwarber and making it 5-0 Cubs before Fowler went down on strikes for the third out.
Kipnis broke up Arrieta’s no-hitter with a double to right with one out in the sixth. Kipnis moved to third on a groundout to second by Lindor, and the Indians second baseman went home on a wild pitch while Napoli was at the plate. Napoli singled to left for his first hit of the series, and that was the end of Arrieta’s night.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon called Mike Montgomery out of the bullpen to replace the 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner. The left-hander induced a grounder back to the mound to end the sixth.
With right-hander Jeff Manship pitching in the top of the seventh, the Cubs loaded the bases on a Contreras walk, a mishandled force-out on a ground ball hit by Russell – Kipnis’ second error of the game – and a single by Dexter Fowler. Francona then went to his bullpen for the fifth time in Game 2, calling in right-hander Dan Otero.
Otero got Bryant to ground into a force play at the plate, Rizzo flew out to left and the Indians escaped the inning with the Cubs’ lead holding at four runs.
Cleveland got two runners on base in their half of the seventh, but they couldn’t get past second before Montgomery struck out three.
Otero faced the minimum in the eighth, striking out Schwarber in between ground outs to short by Zobrist and Baez.
In the bottom of the eighth, Montgomery retired the first two batters before Napoli lined a 3-2 pitch to center for a single. Four outs away from winning a World Series game for the first time since 1945, the Cubs brought in closer Aroldis Chapman to face Ramirez. The Indians’ third baseman swung and missed at a 103 mph pitch for strike three.
The Indians’ seventh pitcher of the night, right-hander Mike Clevenger, entered in the ninth and put away Contreras on a fly ball to center. He then struck out Jason Heyward, who entered the game as pinch-runner for Soler in the 5th, and got Russell to line out to short.
The Cleveland bullpen held the Cubs scoreless for the final four innings, but the Indians had only four hits all night going into the ninth with the bottom of their batting order due up.
Chapman struck out Rajai Davis and Coco Crisp grounded out to second before the Indians got a runner on via a walk by Brandon Guyer. Guyer took second on defensive indifference and the tying run was in the on-deck circle, but Roberto Perez grounded out to short and the Cubs tied the series 1-1 heading home to Chicago.
Arrieta was the winning pitcher for the Cubs. He allowed one earned run on two hits and three walks. He struck out six in 5 1/3 innings.
Bauer took the loss, giving up two earned runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out two batters in 3 2/3 innings of work.
The Cubs host the Indians in Game 3 at 5 p.m. PT on Friday. Right-hander Josh Tomlin (13-9, 4.40 ERA in the regular season) is slated to pitch for Cleveland. For the Cubs, right-hander Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13) gets the start.
Games 3, 4 and 5 will be at Wrigley Field. If necessary, Games 6 and 7 will be at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
World Series notes:
• Danny Salazar, added to the postseason roster this week and pitching for the Indians first time since early Sept. 9, walked Zobrist and Schwarber in the sixth, but escaped the inning unharmed. The Indians lost two starting pitchers to injury in the last month of the season. Salazar suffered a flexor strain and Carlos Carrasco broke a finger on his pitching hand when his was hit by a line drive during a game against the Detroit Tigers on Sept. 17.
• Zobrist is 5-for-8 with a double, a triple and walk in two World Series games as a Cub. He’s playing in his third Fall Classic. He went 6-for-23 with four doubles and three walks on the way to winning a world championship with the Kansas City Royals last year. With the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008, he went 1-for-7 with one walk. The Rays lost that World Series to the Philadelphia Phillies.