Indians can't take title at Wrigley, head home needing 1 win
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 31, 2016 01:48 PM
Cleveland Indians' Jose Ramirez reacts after striking out during the seventh inning of Game 5 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Chicago Cubs Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — Unable to close the deal in wild and windy Wrigley Field, the Cleveland Indians are heading home a win short of that elusive World Series title.
One more. That's all they need. A rare opportunity they can't let slip away.
But that 68-year title wait isn't over yet.
Trevor Bauer had one shaky inning Sunday and that was enough for the Chicago Cubs to claim their first World Series win at Wrigley since 1945, a 3-2 victory in Game 5 that prevented Cleveland's players from spraying champagne inside the ivy-covered walls.
The Indians, who were able to take two of three while playing by National League rules in Chicago, will get their next chance to win a first Series title since 1948 on Tuesday at Progressive Field, where they went 53-28 during the regular season and are 5-1 in the postseason.
"We're in good position still," first baseman Mike Napoli said. "We're up 3-2 and going home. We did what we had to do here. We put ourselves in position to try and win it in a crazy atmosphere. Now we're going to go home and try and win it in front of our fans.
"We're still a confident group. Nobody's hanging their head in the clubhouse. We're all packing up to go home, sleep in our own beds and get after it when the time comes."
Josh Tomlin will start Game 6 on short rest, and if he can't finish the job, the Indians still have an ace up their sleeve. Corey Kluber, who has won both his starts so far in this Series, will be ready on three days' rest for Game 7 — if necessary.
Bauer soared through the first three innings, matching Chicago's Jon Lester almost pitch for pitch. Bauer struck out the side in the first and only gave up a single over the first three innings before he got into trouble in the fourth.
Kris Bryant connected for a leadoff homer, Anthony Rizzo doubled off the right-field wall, and Ben Zobrist followed by lacing a single to centerfield. Then the Cubs took a softer approach, getting an infield roller, bunt single and sacrifice fly to take a 3-1 lead.
Still, Bauer felt good about his outing.
"I felt great," he said. "I threw the ball really well. Had command of all my pitches, but I wanted to win tonight. We've got to win one more game."
The Indians, whose season has been marked by resilience and comebacks both personal and collective, closed to 3-2 in the sixth on Francisco Lindor's single.
They also had scoring chances in the seventh and eighth against Cubs flame-thrower Aroldis Chapman, who was summoned by manager Joe Maddon earlier than usual with Chicago's season dangling by a thread.
Lindor came up again in the eighth, and with a chance to drive in the go-ahead run from third with two outs, he looked at strike three — a 101 mph (162 kph), four-seam fastball that he thought was low.
Cleveland's star shortstop, thrown out trying to steal second in the sixth, spent more than 20 seconds standing in the batter's box. He seemed upset at both the plate umpire and himself. Lindor slowly lifted his helmet and peeled off his gloves before taking the field.
He and the Indians will have another chance, maybe two, where the confines are friendlier.
"Our fans are unreal," Lindor said. "The whole entire time they've been great. I'm looking forward to going home and, hopefully, getting the win over there."