Chicago starter Jake Arrieta froze the Cleveland bats, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and his offense jumped on Trevor Bauer and the Indians bullpen to even up the World Series at one win a piece in a 5-1 Cubs win on Wednesday night.
With rain in the forecast throughout the day in Cleveland and a cool fall feel in the air, the Cubs and Indians played Game 2 from Progressive Field as the Chicago bats woke up while those of their opponents slumbered.
All eyes were on Bauer in the first, waiting for the stitched together right pinkie finger of the young right-handed starter to hemorrhage blood as it had done in the second game of the American League Championship Series against Toronto. The finger held together just fine, but Bauer’s command was not nearly as crisp as the air and Chicago touched him up for a run in their first at bats of the night.
After a groundout from Dexter Fowler to start the night, Kris Bryant singled to right-center and came in to score on a double to right by Anthony Rizzo as the Cubs drove in their first World Series run in 71 years. Bauer left the damage at that, getting a line out from Ben Zobrist and a strike out of Kyle Schwarber to leave another run standing at second.
The Indians got a pair of walks with two outs in the first against Arrieta, who had struggled more this season with the walks than in year’s past, but the former Cy Young winner worked around the problem by getting a fly out from Jose Ramirez to deep center to end the brief rally.
Javier Baez singled to lead off the second but moved no further against Bauer, but the Cubs would strike through for another run in the third, doing so with two outs against the Indians starter. Rizzo drew a walk after falling behind in the count 0-2 and Zobrist moved him to second on a single to center. Schwarber followed with a single to center of his own, plating Rizzo to make it a 2-0 game.
Arrieta retired nine in a row after the second of his first inning walks to Mike Napoli before walking Ramirez with two outs in the fourth, his third of the game. Lonnie Chisenhall popped to short to end the inning. At that point of the game, Bauer had already gotten the hook from manager Terry Francona after an elevated pitch count and a first pitch single by Addison Russell with two outs in the fourth.
Cleveland reliever Zach McAllister struck out his first batter in the fourth to end that inning and did the same to start the fifth, but lost Rizzo to a walk with one out. Zobrist ripped a shot into the right field corner and Chisenhall slipped on the wet grass trying to field the ball, allowing Rizzo to score and the Cubs utility man to scamper into third with a triple. Bryan Shaw took over on the mound, but the runs continued for Chicago as Schwarber laced a single up the middle to make it 4-0. He moved up on a wild pitch before Baez struck out and advanced to third safely on a fielding error by Jason Kipnis on a grounder from Willson Contreras. Leadoff hitter Jorge Soler walked on four straight as Shaw attempted and failed to get the outfielder to commit to breaking stuff on the edge. With the bases loaded, the Tribe’s setup man threw four straight balls to Russell to force in the fifth and final Cubs run of the night.
The Indians went down in order in the fifth as Arrieta carried a no-hitter past the halfway point of the ball game. After retiring Carlos Santana on a fly to left to start the sixth, Kipnis sent a shot to the gap in right-center, working a hustle double to end the no-hit bid. A grounder to second by Francisco Lindor moved Kipnis to third and he scored on a wild pitch from Arrieta to make it a 5-1 game. After that batter, Napoli, singled to left, Arrieta exited the game for left-hander Mike Montgomery, who worked two innings of scoreless relief and worked around two runners in the seventh without letting the Indians get to third base.
Aroldis Chapman came on in the bottom of the eight with Napoli on first after a single and two outs, but he struck out Ramirez swinging to end the inning. He returned for the ninth, giving up a walk with two outs before ending the game on a grounder to short.
The Cubs evened the series at 1-1 with the victory as the series heads to Wrigley Field for what will be a wild and crazy three games in the Windy City. As long as the Indians secure one win in Illinois, the series will return to Cleveland for at least one of the final two games of the best-of-seven series.
ARRIETA EFFECTIVELY WILD
Arrieta, who saw increases in his walk rate while leading the league in wild pitches this season, showed off a little bit of that wildness in Game 2 of the World Series, but he still earned his first win of the postseason with five and two-thirds innings of one-run baseball. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and the only run scored by Cleveland came after the first of two hits that he allowed on the night and a wild pitch.
Arrieta is now 1-1 in the 2016 playoffs and has allowed seven earned runs in 16 2/3 innings of work on the mound.
Bauer had an eight-day layoff between starts in the postseason while dealing with his drone-induced finger injury that allowed him to face just four Blue Jays batters in the ALCS.
The finger held up and he lasted longer in his outing on Wednesday, but his short stint still forced Francona to burn through six different relievers on the night while trying to keep the game close. Bauer worked three and two-thirds innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits and two walks while striking out a pair. He needed 87 pitches to retire just eleven outs on the night.
While the game was still a manageable two-run deficit at the time he left the mound for good, his bullpen mates McAllister and Shaw allowed three more runs to score on two hits and three walks in just one and one-third inning.
Danny Salazar made his 2016 postseason debut for the Indians when he replaced Shaw to start the sixth inning. He worked one inning, kicking off some rust while walking two batters, and threw just eight of his 19 pitches for strikes.
Neither team was all that effective at cashing in base runners on the night. The Cubs just happened to make the most of their opportunities.
Chicago was 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position, with Baez leading the pack with two hits in three at bats. As a team, 13 men were stranded on base by the Cubs.
Cleveland had far fewer opportunities as the three Chicago pitchers shut down its lineup for the most part. The Indians were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left a total of eight men on base.
It was the first World Series loss in the managerial career of Francona. He is now 9-1 lifetime in the championship series.
Friday, 10/28/16 (8:00 PM ET at Wrigley Field) –RHP Josh Tomlin (13-9, 4.40 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13)
Saturday, 10/29/16 (8:00 at Wrigley Field) – RHP Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.14) vs. RHP John Lackey (11-8, 3.35)
Sunday, 10/30/16* (8:00 at Wrigley Field) – TBD
Tuesday, 11/1/16* (8:00 at Progressive Field) – TBD
Wednesday, 11/2/16* (8:00 at Progressive Field) – TBD
Both teams will take Thursday off as they travel to Chicago to resume the series at Wrigley Field, which will host its first World Series game since 1945 on Friday night.
MLB ERA leader Hendricks (16-8, 2.13) will take the ball for manager Joe Maddon and the Cubs. Veteran right-hander Tomlin (13-9, 4.40) will counter for Cleveland.
Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images