CHICAGO -- Whew! That was a close one!
The Cleveland Indians got a standout effort from the pitching staff and just enough hitting to earn a 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs in Game 3 of the 2016 World Series at Wrigley Field Friday night.
With the win, the Indians took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series heading into tomorrow’s Game 4 matchup. And they will turn the ball over to their ace, Corey Kluber, who could put Cleveland within one victory of a championship.
Over 4.2 innings of work against the Cubs in Game 3, Indians starter Josh Tomlin allowed just two hits and one walk with one strikeout.
Tomlin was relieved by left-handed fire-baller Andrew Miller in the bottom of the fifth inning and got pinch hitter Miguel Montero to line out to right field for the final out of the frame. Then, in the sixth, Miller set down the Cubs in order, 1-2-3, all on strikeouts.
Despite allowing two hits over 1.2 innings of work, Bryan Shaw kept the Cubs at bay, and then, closer Cody Allen nailed down the four-out save. Allen more than earned his sixth save of the postseason, as he had to go through the heart of Chicago’s order, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Willson Contreras and Jason Heyward, and get second baseman Javier Baez to strike out swinging with the tying and winning runs in scoring position to lock down the victory.
The Indians were knocking on the door of scoring several times in the early going of Game 3, but at every turn, the Cubs were there to slam it shut, and the fifth inning proved no different.
Center fielder Tyler Naquin led off the inning with a single to shallow left field and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from pitcher Josh Tomlin. Then, left fielder Carlos Santana drew a walk on just five pitches and second baseman Jason Kipnis was hit in the back by a 3-2 pitch from starter Kyle Hendricks.
The hit batsman loaded the bases and proved to be Hendricks’ last hitter of the night, as he was pulled for reliever Justin Grimm. Despite Grimm having a 10.80 earned run average after giving up five hits in the postseason, Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor grounded into a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play.
Lindor had worked the count full after fouling off the first two pitches of the at-bat, but could not get the ball through the hole at second base.
It took a pair of pinch hitters and a substitute runner to do it, but the Indians finally broke through in the top of the seventh inning against the Cubs in Game 3.
A looping single to right field off the bat of pinch hitter Coco Crisp gave the Indians a 1-0 lead over the Cubs.
Catcher Roberto Perez led off the inning with a single to right field, and Michael Martinez was brought in to pinch run for him. Martinez hustled down to second base when Naquin laid down a sacrifice bunt to the catcher, and then, third on a wild pitch from reliever Carl Edwards with reserve outfielder Rajai Davis at the plate.
Davis drew a walk to put runners on the corners, and Crisp was inserted into the lineup to bat for Miller. Known for his clutch hitting in clinching games this postseason, Crisp again delivered when he flared a pitch from Edwards into right field.
Although Davis was thrown out trying to go from first base to third, Martinez hustled in for the game’s first run.
Check out the images of the Tribe's Game 3 victory below: