Indians can't take title at Wrigley, head home needing 1 win
Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer throws during the first inning of Game 5 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Chicago Cubs, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
CHICAGO (AP) Unable to close the deal in wild and windy Wrigley Field, the Cleveland Indians are heading home a win short.
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.
Article continues below ...
Trevor Bauer had one shaky inning Sunday night and that was enough for the Chicago Cubs to claim their first World Series win since 1945, a 3-2 victory in Game 5 that prevented Cleveland's players from spraying champagne inside the ivy-covered walls at Wrigley.
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 night at Progressive Field, where they went 53-28 during the regular season and are 5-1 in the postseason.
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.
Cleveland fans are hoping it isn't.
The drone-flying Bauer, whose postseason was briefly a bloody mess, 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 tattooed him for a leadoff homer, and by the time the inning was over, Bauer had allowed three runs and put the Indians in a hole that proved to be just a little too deep.
After Bryant's homer into the left-field bleachers, Anthony Rizzo doubled off the right-field wall and soon Cubs fans were bellowing ''Bow-er, Bow-er,'' hoping to rattle the right-hander who has been prone to big innings all year and only recently had 11 stitches removed from his pinkie after slicing it open while repairing one of his remote-controlled models.
Ben Zobrist followed Rizzo's double by lacing a single to center and then the Cubs took a softer approach, getting an infield roller, bunt single and sacrifice fly to take a 3-1 lead.
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 RBI 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, 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 plate umpire Tony Randazzo 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.