Major League Baseball (MLB)

All square: Chicago Cubs defeat Cleveland Indians 5-1 to level World Series

Cubs level unlikely World Series match-up after two games

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 October, 2016, 11:32am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 November, 2016, 4:11pm

Jake Arrieta pitched five hitless innings and the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series game since 1945 by routing the Cleveland Indians 5-1 on Wednesday to level their championship showdown.

The Cubs, trying to win their first Major League Baseball crown since 1908 and end the longest title drought in American sports history, deadlocked the best-of-seven series final at 1-1.

The scene shifts to Chicago for three games starting on Friday – the first World Series contests at iconic 102-year-old Wrigley Field in 71 years.

Arrieta, last year’s Cy Young Award winner as the National League’s best pitcher, had a no-hitter in 2015 and another this year and was off to a hot start over five innings despite three walks.

The 30-year-old right-hander stumbled to surrender a run on two hits in the sixth but threw 55 strikes among his 98 pitches over 5 2/3 innings.

Arrieta silenced an Indians lineup that ripped 10 hits in winning the opener 6-0 while Cubs batters, silenced in game one, tagged Indians starter Trevor Bauer quickly in the first inning.

Kris Bryant singled and scored the Cubs’ first World Series run in 71 years on a double to rightfield by Anthony Rizzo.

In the third, Rizzo walked with two outs, took second on a Ben Zobrist single and scored on Kyle Schwarber’s single up the middle to give the Cubs a 2-0 edge.

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Zobrist, who played for 2015 World Series champion Kansas City, was coming off a three-hit performance on Tuesday that made him just the second player – after New York Yankees legend Babe Ruth in 1927 and 1928 – to have three hits in back-to-back World Series openers.

Bauer lasted only 3 2/3 innings and his relievers fared no better.

Rizzo walked again in the fourth and scored when Zobrist tripled to the right corner. Schwarber singled up the middle to send home Zobrist and put Chicago ahead 4-0.

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Schwarber took second on a wild pitch and third on a fielding error by Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipris then scored when Indians relief pitcher Bryan Shaw walked Addison Russell with the bases loaded for a 5-0 Cubs lead.

The Indians, whose championship dry spell since 1948 marks baseball’s second-longest drought, finally answered in the sixth.

Kipris doubled, took third base on Francisco Lindor’s ground out to second base and scored when Arrieta hurled a wild pitch that got past Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras and allowed Kipris to race across the plate.

Cleveland had two base runners in the seventh and one each in the eighth and ninth innings, but Cubs reliever Mike Montgomery struck out four and ended the first threat while Cuban closer Aroldis Chapman entered in the eighth and finished off the victory.