Game 7 Diary: Chicago Cubs’ Win in World Series Finale was a Nearly five-hour wild Ride
Wednesday night was the 39th Game 7 in World Series history. Cleveland! Historic franchises! Impossibly long droughts! Racist logos! Let’s recap the events. All times Eastern.
8 p.m. Did you know that the Cubs haven’t won since 1908 and the Clevelands not since 1948? Yeah, it has come up a few times? OK, then. As you were.
8:03 Dexter Fowler lofts a fly ball to centre field and it carries … and carries … and my goodness that was a leadoff home run. Fowler moonwalks a little around first base. As one does.
8:05 Gimpy legged Kyle Schwarber runs out an infield single. This is not the start that Corey Kluber expected. Or anyone did, really.
8:08 Analyst Buck Martinez, working the international telecast on Sportsnet, notes that Kluber doesn’t have sharp command of his pitches. That is worrisome. But then he gets three fly-ball outs. That could have been a lot worse.
8:14 Oh hey, Christmas commercials. So I’ll be sick of them by Nov. 10. Super.
8:19 Quick bottom of first as Kyle Hendricks responds to a Javier Baez throwing error by getting Mike Napoli to ground out — 1-0 Cubs after one. It seems ridiculous to mention this so early, but getting an early lead means Chicago probably won’t have to face a rested Andrew Miller in the fourth or something silly like that.
8:26 Kluber whips through the second inning. It would appear he solved whatever wasn’t working early on.
8:27 An ad for Budweiser’s non-alcoholic beer. Not for the first time, I wonder what possible reason there is to drink a Budweiser other than the alcohol.
8:31 Leadoff single for Jose Ramirez. He’s looking to run and maybe Cleveland can start a ral-
8:32 Hendricks picks him off at first.
8:33 Lonnie Chisenhall follows with an opposite field single.
8:34 Rajai Davis follows that with a ground ball that the Cubs turn into a double play. Two hits, three batters faced in total for Hendricks in the inning. Check that one off the bingo card.
8:38 Andrew Miller is getting loose. It is the start of the third inning. Hide your children, they don’t need to see this.
8:40 Gimpy legged Kyle Schwarber rips a ball down the right field line, but he’s cut down at second by Chisenhall. Maybe don’t try taking the extra base when you’ve been out since April with a bum knee, fella.
8:45 Coco Crisp with a leadoff double to left.
8:46 Roberto Perez bunts him over, flashes his “Small Ball 4 Life” tattoo.
8:47 Carlos Santana singles to right. Good chance Crisp would have scored from second, but whatever. Tie game. Now Chicago really wants to stop the damage, or they could get Miller with the lead next.
8:52 Oh dear. A Jason Kipnis grounder to short looks like a possible double-play ball, but Baez drops the ball while trying to make a barehanded catch and throw. Two on, still just one out. Two errors for Baez already. (Side note: the out call was overturned correctly on replay, for what seems like the first time all postseason.)
8:55 Francisco Lindor works Hendricks to 3-0, but flies out. Then Mike Napoli hits a rocket down the third base line that Kris Bryant snares. This game should come with defibrillators.
9:04 Bryant with a leadoff single. Then Anthony Rizzo is plunked in the shoulder to put two men on with none out. Terry Francona reaches for the bubble gum bucket like he is taking a belt of whisky. I feel you, Tito.
9:10 Ben Zobrist forceout, Addison Russell flyout, but Bryant scores from third on a high throw from Rajai Davis. A good one would have had him dee-oh-eh. 2-1, Cubs.
9:13 And now Willson Contreras knocks a double off the centre field wall after Davis gets a bad jump. Another run scores — 3-1, Cubs. Things are really not going well for ol’ Rajai.
9:17 Jason Heyward does his thing. (His thing is to record a harmless out with a runner in scoring position.) Inning over.
9:23 Davis comes up with two down in the bottom of the fourth. A chance for redemption!
9:25 Also a chance for a fly ball to left, which is what happens. Hendricks is at just 50 pitches even though that was his first clean inning.
9:30 Francona sticks with Kluber. And Baez is leading off. A chance for redemption!
9:31 BAEZ HOMER. Sorry about the errors, guys, please accept this blast as my make-good. 4-1, Cubs.
9:32 Andrew Miller in, which is much less terrifying for the Cubs when they have a three-run lead.
9:33 Fowler raps a single off Miller. Huh. If the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908 AND mount a rally against Miller, prepare for the end times.
9:34 Double play ball from Schwarber. Close the gates of Hell.
9:40 A Bryant walk, and then he scores from first on a bloody single, because that’s what power-hitting third basemen … do? Yes, that’s a run off Miller. To the bomb shelter! 5-1, Cubs.
9:45 The broadcast shows Cubs president Theo Epstein, who if this score holds will never have to buy another drink in most of the United States.
9:52 Hendricks gets the first two outs, then walks Santana after having him 0-2. And, he is pulled for Jon Lester. Joe Maddon: not screwing around.
9:56 Lester gets a dribbler from Kipnis, but new catcher David Ross fires WIDE at first. Runners at first and third. (Adjusts collar.)
9:59 A wild pitch gets away from Ross, scoring Santana AND ALSO KIPNIS WHAT THE HELL. I have no rooting interest in this game and I need a drink. Or heroin. A drink should be fine.
10:04 OK, Lester got out of it, so now it’s Miller vs. Cubs, with Chicago up 5-3 to start the sixth.
10:10 What. In. The. Hell. David Ross, old coot, hits a bomb to centre off Andrew Freaking Miller, last seen riding in from the bullpen on a winged dragon. 6-3, Cubs.
10:24 After a reasonably tidy half inning from Lester, Fowler leads off the seventh with a single. Bad timing for Miller to suddenly become hittable.
10:32 Miller is lifted after 2.2 innings with a runner on first. He came in with the Cubs up three, and he leaves with the Cubs up three. Now Francona has used his two best arms. If li’l Ryan Merritt ends up closing this out, I give up.
10:38 Cody Allen strikes out Bryant and Perez throws out a Fowler steal attempt, rally is snuffed out like Cleveland wishes it did that Cuyahoga River fire in 1969.
10:48 Lester allows a walk, but that’s it, and he looks rather excited after striking out Kipnis to end it. Six outs left! Progressive Field is doing a lot of praying right now.
10:56 You know, if the Cavs hadn’t come back to win that NBA title in June, imagine how grim the scene would be now. FAILURE CITY DOES IT AGAIN. At least they have that to fall back on. (Pats Cleveland on the head.)
11:07 Lester gets two outs and surrenders an infield hit in the bottom of the eighth, so Maddon goes to Aroldis Chapman, who is a hard thrower and a bad person.
11:10 Brandon Guyer hits a double to the right field gap, because of course. 6-4, Cubs.
11:12 Chapman, who threw 20 pitches a night earlier, is throwing 100-mph fastballs. Still a bad person.
11:13 Rajai Davis up, fouling off a lot of heat.
11:14 RAJAI DAVIS TWO-RUN HOMER. WHAT. Seriously, that was ridiculous. I guess he was saving the redemption for the right moment. Chapman went low and inside and Davis golfed it on a line over the left-field fence.
11:19 Yan Gomes strikes out to end the inning, but my God, Brandon Guyer and Rajai Davis close the three-run gap against the game’s biggest fireballer. 6-6 after eight. If it ends 12-12 in 17 innings, I would not be all that surprised.
11:32 Allen is pulled with a runner on first and one down in the ninth. There was some confusion over a replay review, so at least that’s back to normal.
11:37 Light rain, and they are thinking about the tarp. Please, no.
11:39 Heyward steals second, and gets to third when the throw goes into the outfield. Ninety feet from a lead for the Cubs.
11:41 Baez tries to squeeze the runner home WITH TWO STRIKES and he bunts foul for the second out. Maddon might well have lost his mind.
11:42 Fowler hits what looks like a single up the middle, but Lindor makes a fantastic play to snag the ball behind second and get the out. Mercy. Lindor’s range is silly.
11:47 Maddon sends Chapman back out for the ninth. This is weird, yes?
11:53 Just when it looks like Chapman has turned into Josh Tomlin, he gets Kipnis with a high fastball and then Lindor on another fastball. To the 10th inning! I am regretting taking this assignment.
11:58 Rain delay. Super. This game has lacked a brawl and an earthquake, but not much else.
12:12 And, we’re back. Welcome to 10th inning. And also Thursday.
12:13 Schwarber leadoff single off Bryan Shaw.
12:16 Bryant flies to the warning track, but pinch runner Albert Almora advances to second because the Cubs do not fear Davis’s arm. Which, fair enough. Then Cleveland intentionally walks Rizzo to get to Zobrist. Unlike Maddon’s hair-on-fire management tonight, this is utterly conventional.
12:20 And, it blows up. Zobrist singles to left, scoring Almora. Then another intentional walk to load the bases for Miguel Montero. Maddon is liking these developments more than a manager normally would, I think.
12:23 Montero single! Now 8-6, Cubs, bases still loaded, and Trevor Bauer coming in with one down. Mercy.
12:28 Yes, the same Trevor Bauer who was lifted in the first inning of an ALCS start because he cut his pinky all to hell fixing a drone. As one does.
12:30 Bauer strikes out Heyward, but who doesn’t these days?
12:32 Baez flies out to centre, leaving the bases loaded. The Cubs are three outs away, but they were four outs away like two lifetimes ago.
12:36 Carl Edwards, Jr. replaces Chapman, who is a bad person. I think the world was collectively terrified that Maddon would go back to Chapman.
12:37 Napoli, swinging strikeout. Two outs to go.
12:38 Ramirez grounds to short. 108 years, one out left.
12:40 Guyer walks. You just knew this wouldn’t go smoothly,
12:43 Davis with a solid single up the middle, scoring Guyer. One-run game. Sorry to have ever doubted you, Rajai. You still can’t throw.
12:45 Mike Montgomery in to pitch now. It’s like Maddon just discovered he has all these other pitchers back there.
12:47 Michael Martinez quickly taps to third, and Bryant goes to first for the out. CUBS WIN CUBS WIN CUBS WIN.
12:48 That actually happened.