Major League Baseball (MLB)

Cleveland Indians rout Chicago Cubs to put one hand on World Series title

Pitcher Corey Kluber on fire, while Jason Kipnis hits three-run homer to clinch game four

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 October, 2016, 11:52am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 November, 2016, 4:10pm

One more win and baseball fans everywhere might finally believe in these Cleveland Indians.

That’s all it will take for Corey Kluber & Co to clinch this World Series.

Kluber pitched six sparkling innings on short rest to win again, Jason Kipnis hit a three-run homer in his hometown and the Indians beat the Chicago Cubs 7-2 on Saturday night to take a 3-1 lead.

Carlos Santana also connected for the first of his three hits as Cleveland moved closer to their first championship since 1948. Trevor Bauer gets the ball on Sunday night at Wrigley Field in game five when the Indians try for the franchise’s third World Series title against Jon Lester and the faltering Cubs.

Not bad for a team that seemed like underdogs all year long. The Indians beat defending champions the Royals and star-studded Tigers for the AL Central title, and then eliminated David Ortiz and the Red Sox and the heavy-hitting Blue Jays on their way to the AL pennant.

Then much of the talk centred on the major league-leading Cubs and their 108-year championship drought. But it’s been mostly Indians once more, with manager Terry Francona pushing all the right buttons while improving to 11-1 in the World Series.

The Indians will try to bring another crown to Cleveland, adding to the one LeBron James and the Cavaliers earned earlier this year.

Dexter Fowler doubled and scored in the first for the Cubs, and then homered against Andrew Miller in the eighth. Fowler’s drive to left-centre was the first homer for Chicago in the World Series since Phil Cavaretta connected in game one in 1945 and the first run allowed by Miller during his dominant post-season.

In between Fowler’s two hits, the Cubs came up empty every time they had a chance to put any pressure on the Indians.

Pitching on three days’ rest for the second time, Kluber allowed five hits, struck out six and walked one. The steady, stoic right-hander, who struck out nine in a dominant performance in game one, improved to 4-1 with a 0.89 ERA in five play-off starts this year.