The Chicago Cubs are World Series champions.
Let’s say that again, because it’s been awhile. The Chicago Cubs … are World Series champions.
History happened Wednesday night as the Cubs staved off an Indians rally to complete their comeback from three games to one down, end a 108-year championship drought and put a firm end to any talk of a franchise curse with an 8-7, 10-inning win over the Indians in Game 7.
One of the greatest games of all-time got started with a bang. Dexter Fowler kicked off the scoring right away, hitting the first Game 7 leadoff home run in World Series history, a blast to center off Indians ace Corey Kluber in the top of the first.
The Indians tied things up in the bottom of the third off Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks. Coco Crisp led off with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Roberto Perez and scored on a Carlos Santana RBI single to right.
The tie didn’t last long though. In the top of the fourth, Kris Bryant singled, Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch, then Ben Zobrist hit into a fielder’s choice to second, sending Bryant to third. Addison Russell flew out to Rajai Davis, whose throw to the plate was just a second too late to get the tagging Bryant. Willson Contreras followed with a double to score Zobrist and put the Cubs up 3-1.
The Cubs kept pouring it on in the fifth. A Javier Baez home run made it 4-1 and chased Kluber. Star reliever Andrew Miller came in and allowed another run after walking Bryant and then allowing an RBI hit to Rizzo.
Cleveland briefly dusted itself off in the bottom of the fifth. After Hendricks got the first two outs, he walked Carlos Santana and was removed for Jon Lester. Jason Kipnis then hit a dribbler up the third base line that new catcher David Ross threw away past Rizzo and into right field. With Francisco Lindor batting, Lester spun in a wild pitch that bounced up and dazed Ross, careening away and allowing both runners to score to cut the lead to 5-3.
But once again, the Cubs snatched the momentum right back. Ross rebounded to hit a solo home run to center in the top of sixth off Miller to extend the lead to 6-3.
Lester pitched into the eighth, with every strike being serenaded with roars of approval from a crowd in Cleveland that likely had as many Cubs fans as Indians fans. After giving up a single to Jose Ramirez, Lester was lifted for closer Aroldis Chapman. Brandon Guyer then doubled to right center to score Ramirez and keep things interesting.
That brought up Rajai Davis. On a two-strike pitch, his hands choked up high, Davis lined a home run that just creeped over the elevated wall in left field to tie this amazing game, 6-6.
The ninth inning went by scoreless, and then after a brief rain delay, the Cubs put two on the board in the 10th behind hits from Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero.
Carl Edwards Jr. came on to pitch the 10th, but he couldn’t get out of it. After getting the first two outs easily, he walked Guyer, who then took second on defensive indifference, and gave up an RBI single to Davis. Mike Montgomery came on to finish the job, retiring Michael Martinez to end it.
It was the Cubs’ first World Series title since 1908, and a result, the world as we know it has now officially ended. The Indians will have to wait to end their lengthy drought — they haven’t won since 1948.