October 29, 2016

World Series 4: Cleveland 7, Cubs 2

Cleveland - 021 001 300 - 7 10  0
Cubs      - 100 000 010 - 2  7  2
Pitching on short rest for only the second time in his career, Corey Kluber (6-5-1-1-6, 81) quieted the Cubs' bats once again - and brought Cleveland to within one game of baseball's 2016 championship. Jason Kipnis (3-for-5) put the game out of reach with a three-run homer off Travis Wood in the seventh. Cleveland can clinch its first World Series since 1948 with a win tomorrow night.

Before tonight's game, the team that had scored first in every LCS and World Series game had been victorious (14-0). But after the Cubs had taken a 1-0 lead in the first, Chicago starter John Lackey (5-4-3-1-5, 84) gave it right back. Carlos Santana began the top of the second with a home run. Two errors from Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, along with an infield single from Kluber, brought in another run. Cleveland made it 3-1 in the third when Kipnis doubled and scored in Francisco Lindor's single.

The Cubs put two runners on base with two outs in the third (walk, HBP), but Kluber struck out Ben Zobrist in an eight-pitch at-bat. Anthony Rizzo doubled to open the home half of the sixth, but Kluber stranded him there, as Zobrist flied to left, Willson Contreras struck out, and Addison Russell grounded to third.

Even with a six-run lead, Terry Francona did not screw around. He had Andrew Miller pitch the seventh and eighth innings. Miller retired the side in the seventh and allowed a leadoff homer to Dexter Fowler in the eighth. Dan Otero gave up a one-out single in the ninth, but had no other trouble.

Kluber has allowed only three earned runs in 30.1 postseason innings this month (0.89 ERA). Only Christy Mathewson has had a lower ERA over his first five postseason outings (0.38).
Corey Kluber / John Lackey

Tonight's game seems like a must-win for the Cubs. If they lose, they are down 1-3, with two of the possible three remaining games in Cleveland. And 69 of 81 teams (85%) up 3-1 in a best-of-7 went on to win the series.