Chicago Holds On for Game 5 Win as Series Returns to Cleveland; Cubs 3, Indians 2

With their 103-win season and 108-year championship drought at stake, the Chicago Cubs outlasted the Cleveland Indians by a 3-2 final in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night in the final game at Wrigley Field in the 2016 season.

The Cubs, who have made fans wait a long time for a return to glory, waited until the third and final game in Chicago to get their first World Series win secured at Wrigley Field since 1945. They avoided a home field sweep by the Indians, who had their sights set on clinching the championship on the road in dramatic fashion. The win keeps the hopes alive for the Chicago media darlings, who now trail the best-of-seven series, 3-2. The Fall Classic now returns to Cleveland for the remaining games, as necessary.

The Indians pitching staff contained the Cubs lineup once again, limiting the power-packed bunch to just three runs on the night. The bigger story line for Cleveland, however, was the team’s inability to deliver in the clutch as they missed countless opportunities throughout the contest, all of which loomed large in the one-run defeat for the Tribe.

Ramirez - Elsa/Getty Images
Ramirez – Elsa/Getty Images

Jon Lester and Trevor Bauer got the starting nods for both clubs, with Lester throwing on full rest while Bauer was working with just three days in between starts. Both pitchers looked sharp in the early going, but it was a big blow from a little Indians infielder that scored the first run of the night.

Each of the first five batters of the game went down on strikes against Lester and Bauer. The Indians made some contact in the second, but Mike Napoli popped up to second on two pitches and Carlos Santana popped out to Anthony Rizzo behind the plate, with an assist on a deflection from David Ross. Jose Ramirez took a strike looking before swinging away, sending a rope to left that cleared the wall for a solo homer to put the Indians on top, 1-0.

Chicago got their first hit of the night with one out in the second, when Addison Russell singled but was stranded. Both sides went down quickly in the third and the same occurred for the Indians in the fourth. In the home half of the inning, things went a little sideways for Bauer and Cleveland as Chicago struck for runs.

Bauer - Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Bauer – Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Kris Bryant drilled a 1-1 pitch from Bryant just over the screen into the first row in left-center for a leadoff solo shot to tie the game at one. Rizzo doubled to the wall in right and Ben Zobrist relocated a 3-0 pitch into right for a single to put runners on the corners. Russell stepped in and, down in the count 1-2, sent a dribbler towards Ramirez at third. He attempted a play at first base but was too late and Rizzo was able to score on the play to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Bauer struck out Jason Heyward swinging for the first out before Javier Baez loaded the bases with an infield single to Ramirez. Ross lifted a sacrifice fly to left, deep enough to drive home Zobrist to make it a three-run Chicago advantage.

The wasted opportunities for the Indians began in the fifth as Santana doubled to the gap in right to lead things off. A grounder to short from Ramirez moved the runner to third, but Brandon Guyer struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch with an inflated strike zone and Roberto Perez grounded the next pitch to short to end the inning.

Mike Clevinger came on in relief of Bauer in the bottom half of the fifth. He walked Bryant with one out and the National League MVP candidate stole second and moved to third on an airmail throw from Perez to second. A walk to Zobrist put runners on the corners, but Russell lined to Guyer in right for the third out.

Cleveland cashed in a run in the sixth to make it a one-run game. With one down, Rajai Davis singled to left. He stole second before Jason Kipnis struck out looking. Francisco Lindor continued his good series with a single to center to drive home Davis from second as the Indians made it a 3-2 game. With Napoli at the plate, Lindor attempted to pick off second on the Lester-Ross tandem, but a bad throw from Ross was saved by a nice catch and tag from Baez at second to retire Lindor and the Indians.

Bryan Shaw struck out the side in the sixth as the Indians got back to work against new pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. Napoli singled to left and advanced to second on a passed ball on new battery mate Willson Contreras. Santana flied to left, unable to move Napoli closer to home, and Cubs manager Joe Maddon called for his closer, Aroldis Chapman. The hard-throwing lefty struck out Ramirez swinging before hitting Guyer with a pitch. Perez grounded to second to end the rally.

The Indians would get the tying run to third in the eighth against Chapman as Davis reached on a one-out bullet down the right field line that was snagged by a diving Rizzo at first base, but a sleeping Chapman did not race to first base to cover. With Kipnis at the plate, Davis stole second, but Kipnis would foul out to the Cubs bullpen in foul territory for the second out. Davis picked off third base uncontested with Lindor at the plate, but the Tribe’s All-Star shortstop struck out looking on a called third strike to leave the tying run 90 feet away.

It was the Indians last great hope as Napoli grounded to short, Santana flied to right, and Ramirez struck out swinging against Chapman to close it out in the ninth.

The loss keeps the Indians one win away from a World Series title while the battle returns to Cleveland for the final two games. The Cubs will have to sweep the set from the Indians in order to end their drought, while the Indians can end their 68-year span of futility with one win on either Tuesday night or Wednesday night.

Lester - Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Lester – Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images


Lester left after six innings of work in a much better performance than his first during Game 1 of the series. The Indians have put five runs on him in the two games this season after Lester entered with just one earned run allowed in his prior three World Series starts.

He allowed two runs on four hits with no walks and five strikeouts in Game 5. He threw 90 pitches, 61 for strikes, and threw first pitch strikes to 15 of the 21 batters that he faced.


Chapman worked two and two-thirds innings on the night to earn his first save of the World Series and his fourth save of the postseason overall. He threw a career highs in innings and the Cubs needed every one of his outs in the one-run affair.

In retiring eight batters, Chapman faced ten and allowed just one single and a hit batter while striking out four. He threw 42 pitches, 26 for strikes on the night.


Bauer entered the night with a magic number of 18. He had faced no more than 18 batters during any one playoff series thus far in 2016 and felt that if he could surpass that number on Sunday night, good things would be in store for his ball club.

He faced exactly 18 batters in four innings, allowing three runs on six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. Two-thirds of his pitches were strikes on the night, but he threw first pitch strikes to just eight of the batters that stepped in against him. While the damage was done quickly and with several balls that did not even leave the infield, it was damage done and too much for an Indians offense that was unable to get base runners in.

Allen - Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Allen – Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images


The Cleveland bullpen was strong once again, throwing five innings of scoreless, one-hit baseball.

The pitching staff as a whole struck out 14 Cubs on the night, including three from Shaw in one and one-third innings of work and four from Allen in one and two-thirds innings of work. Only Allen allowed a hit. Clevinger issued a pair of walks and Allen walked one intentionally in his outing while also hitting a batter.


The Indians were just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position as the team stranded four on the night. Kipnis, Lindor, and Perez were each 0-for-2, while Santana and Guyer were 0-for-1. Lindor was 1-for-2 with his RBI single in the sixth.

The Cubs, by comparison, were 3-for-10, with knocks by Baez, Zobrist, and Russell. Chicago left eight runners on base.


With three stolen bases on the night, Davis became just the fifth player to steal three or more bases in a World Series game in Major League history. He joined Honus Wagner, Willie Davis, Lou Brock (twice), and Melvin Upton Jr.


Tuesday, 11/1/16 (8:00 at Progressive Field) – RHP Jake Arrieta (18-8, 3.10 ERA) vs. RHP Josh Tomlin (13-9, 4.40)
Wednesday, 11/2/16* (8:00 at Progressive Field) – TBD vs. RHP Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.14)

*if necessary

The series now returns to Cleveland, where the Indians will have two chances to clinch the title at home on the shores of Lake Erie.

Tomlin will take the mound for the Tribe in Game 6 and like Bauer and Kluber before him, will throw on short rest. He is coming off of a strong start against the Cubs in the Indians’ Game 3 win, when he worked four and two-thirds innings and allowed no runs on two hits with one walk and one strikeout in his second win of the postseason. A rested Arrieta will counter for the Cubs. He earned the win in Game 2 against Bauer, working five and two-thirds innings and allowing just one run on two hits with three walks and six strikeouts. He is 1-1 this postseason with a 3.78 ERA and 1.08 WHIP.

Game 6 from Progressive Field is scheduled for an 8:08 PM ET start on Tuesday.

Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Cleveland Indians 2016 AL Champs

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