The Latest: Baez's failed bunt helps Indians preserve tie
CLEVELAND (AP) The Latest on Game 7 of the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians on Wednesday (all times local):
Javier Baez squared to bunt with a full count and a runner on third, and the Cubs infielder fouled it off to help the Indians preserve a 6-6 tie in a nervy top of the ninth inning in Game 7.
With one out, Jason Heyward stole second base with Baez batting then took third when catcher Yan Gomes' throw skipped into the outfield. Baez then tried to bunt, fouling the ball straight back for strike three.
Dexter Fowler then grounded out to shortstop, ending the inning.
Cleveland has the top of the order due up in the bottom of the ninth, starting with Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor.
Could a little rain extend baseball's longest droughts?
Indians outfielder Rajai Davis tied Game 7 at 6 with a two-run homer in the eighth inning, and when Chicago's David Ross stepped in to lead off the ninth, the rain started coming down.
The Cubs are trying to win their first World Series championship since 1908, and Cleveland hasn't won since 1948.
The start of the game was moved up 8 minutes to 8 p.m. over concerns it might get wet. AccuWeather senior meteorologist said in a statement before the game: ''If Game 7 runs late or goes into extra innings, then the chance of drenching rain will increase.''
Indians outfielder Rajai Davis hit a tying, two-run homer off closer Aroldis Chapman, and Cleveland and the Chicago Cubs are headed to the ninth inning of Game 7 tied 6-6.
Davis yanked Chapman's slider over the wall in the left-field corner with two outs in the eighth inning, capping a three-run inning and pulling the Indians even for the first time since the fourth inning.
Chapman relieved Jon Lester to protect a 6-3 lead with two outs and a man on first. He allowed an RBI double to Brandon Guyer in his first at-bat, then delivered a hittable slider that Davis smacked.
Manager Joe Maddon has been questioned about his use of Chapman in Games 5 and 6. Maddon let the closer throw 62 pitches over three days leading up to Game 7.
Chicago has David Ross, Jason Heyward and Javier Baez due up in the ninth. Ross and Baez have already homered.
Six outs to bury 108 exasperating years.
Jon Lester struck out Jason Kipnis with a runner on second base to end the seventh inning, protecting a 6-3 Cubs lead. With closer Aroldis Chapman warming in the bullpen, that could be it for Lester.
The veteran left-hander came on in relief of Kyle Hendricks in the fifth inning and allowed two runs to score on a wild pitch. He's been solid since, completing 2 1/3 innings without more damage in his first relief outing since the 2007 AL Championship Series, when he pitched for the Red Sox at Progressive Field.
The Chicago Cubs are nine outs away from ending 108 years of frustration.
Chicago leads the Cleveland Indians 6-3 through six innings of Game 7. The Cubs have three home runs through six innings after managing just six total through the first six games of the Series.
Javier Baez, Chicago's 21-year-old defensive whiz, is the second-youngest player in World Series history to hit a home run in Game 7, while 39-year-old catcher David Ross is the oldest player to homer in a winner-take-all World Series game.
David Ross homered in what might have been his final major league at-bat.
The Cubs catcher, set to retire after the season, launched a solo shot off shutdown left-hander Andrew Miller in the sixth inning. The ball just cleared the wall in center field, boosting Chicago's lead to 6-3.
Ross entered in the bottom of the fifth along with left-hander Jon Lester. The veteran backstop has been Lester's go-to handler behind the plate all season, and his homer stretched Chicago's lead after Cleveland got two runs on Lester's wild pitch.
Jason Kipnis and the Cleveland Indians used their legs to get back into Game 7 against the Chicago Cubs.
Carlos Santana scored from third base and Kipnis came in from second when Jon Lester uncorked a wild pitch with two outs in the fifth, pulling the Indians to 5-3.
Lester came on with two outs in the fifth when starter Kyle Hendricks was pulled after walking Santana. Kipnis reached on an infield hit and a throwing error by catcher David Ross, who entered at the same time as Lester.
Both runners came home when Lester's pitch bounced off Ross' mask and skipped toward the Cubs' dugout. Kipnis slid headfirst under Lester's tag to give the Indians a needed jolt.
The Chicago Cubs are pouring it on in Game 7.
Javier Baez led off the fifth with a home run against Corey Kluber and Anthony Rizzo doubled home Kris Bryant on a perfectly executed hit-and-run play to give the Cubs a 5-1 lead.
Kluber, who won Games 1 and 4 for the Indians, exited after Baez's home run. The Chicago second baseman was 4 for 26 with 11 strikeouts before his first home run of the World Series. Kluber allowed four runs in four-plus innings and failed to record a strikeout for the first time in his major league career.
The Cubs again lead Game 7 thanks to their aggressive baserunning and some shoddy defense by the Cleveland Indians.
Kris Bryant scored on Addison Russell's sacrifice fly to shallow center field when Rajai Davis' throw home came in high. Bryant slide safely under catcher Roberto Perez's tag for a 2-1 lead. Willson Contreras added on when he doubled off the wall to bring home Ben Zobrist.
Davis got a bad jump on Contreras' fly, taking a step in before scrambling backward as the ball sailed through the warm November night and off the wall.
The Cubs led 3-1 after four innings.
The Cleveland Indians have tied it up in Game 7.
Coco Crisp led off with a double against Kyle Hendricks, moved to third on Roberto Perez's sacrifice bunt and scored when Carlos Santana singled into right field to knot the game at 1.
The Indians flirted with a big inning when Chicago second baseman Javier Baez dropped a flip from shortstop Addison Russell that put runners on first and second with one out. Francisco Lindor flew out to right and Chicago third baseman Kris Bryant snagged a sharp line drive by Cleveland's Mike Napoli.
Left-hander Jon Lester began warming up in Chicago's bullpen during the fourth inning.
Kyle Hendricks has kept the Cleveland Indians off the board through two innings of Game 7. The Cubs lead 1-0 behind Dexter Fowler's leadoff home run in the first.
Hendricks worked around an error by second baseman Javier Baez to get out of the first inning and wriggled free of potential trouble in the second.
Cleveland's Jose Ramirez led off the second with a single, but Hendricks caught him leaning toward second base and picked him off. Lonnie Chisenhall followed with a single to right, but Rajai Davis bounced into a double play to end the threat. Chisenhall ended a 1-for-24 slide.
The Cubs won 77 percent of games in which they scored first this season, the highest percentage in the majors.
Dexter Fowler has given the Chicago Cubs an early lead in Game 7.
The Cubs center fielder led off this World Series finale by sending a 2-1 pitch from Cleveland ace Corey Kluber over the wall in center, and Chicago led 1-0 after one inning.
It's the first leadoff home run in a winner-take-all Series game. Cleveland's Rajai Davis made a leaping attempt to snare the fly at the wall, but it sailed over his glove. Fowler celebrated by spinning and yelling at the Chicago dugout after rounding first.
The run jolted the already animated Cubs contingent in the stands. Progressive Field featured large swaths of blue and several loud chants of ''Let's Go Cubs'' during the pregame festivities and throughout the first inning. Kris Bryant was even serenaded by ''MVP!'' chants during his at-bat – a common occurrence this season at Wrigley Field.
It was the first leadoff homer allowed by Kluber this season. The last was Aug. 29, 2015, by Kole Calhoun.
The Chicago Cubs' 9-3 win over Cleveland was the most-watched World Series Game 6 since 1997.
Tuesday night's game had a 13.3 rating and 23 share on Fox, drawing 23.4 million viewers. It was the highest-rated Game 6 since the New York Yankees' 2009 clincher against Philadelphia drew a 13.4/22 and the most-watched since Cleveland's win at Florida in 1997 was seen by 23.7 million.
The game drew 425,000 for Spanish-language coverage on Fox Deportes and 151,000 for digital coverage on Fox Sports Go, for a total audience of 24 million.
This year's Series entered Game 7 averaging an 11.3/20 and 20 million viewers, the most watched since Boston's four-game sweep of St. Louis in 2004.
The rating is the percentage of television households tuned to a program, and the share is the percentage showing a broadcast among those homes with TVs on at the time.
Welcome to Wrigleyille East.
The prospect of the Chicago Cubs winning the franchise's first title in more than a century led thousands of Cubs fans to invade Progressive Field ahead of Game 7. There were large swaths of Chicago blue in a sea of Cleveland red an hour before first pitch.
Stubhub reported a surge in sales of Game 7 tickets from the Chicago area on the secondary market. Stubhub spokesman Cameron Papp says up to 60 percent of transactions in the run-up to game time came from the greater Chicago market. A downloadable standing room only ticket was still going for $750 at 7 p.m. Eastern.
Indians manager Terry Francona says he expects the stadium to be ''rocking'' regardless of who buys the tickets and doesn't expect the influx of Cubs fans to have any impact on the outcome.
Wild Thing wasn't going to miss a Game 7 for the ages.
Actor Charlie Sheen, who played Ricky ''Wild Thing'' Vaughn in ''Major League,'' the iconic film about a sad-sack Cleveland Indians team finally reaching the playoffs, will be at the climactic game between the Indians and Chicago Cubs.
The Indians confirmed Sheen will be in attendance.
With a push from fans on social media, Sheen had campaigned to throw out one of the ceremonial pitches before one of the four games in Cleveland. However, the Indians and Major League Baseball chose to go with former players to handle the duties.
Sheen's character in the film is a glasses-wearing, hard-throwing, hard-living right-hander who doesn't always find the strike zone. But once the fictional Indians figure out his eye problems he helps lead them to success.
Between the broken ribs and peanut butter, Indians manager Terry Francona had an interesting, restless night before Game 7.
Francona, who joked about wearing his uniform back to his nearby apartment following Game 6, said he didn't sleep well on Tuesday night.
''I had a nightmare that somebody broke my ribs,'' he said.
Francona said he woke up and realized he had fallen asleep on his TV remote control, which had pushed deep into his ribs and left a mark.
Beyond that, Francona, who ordered $44 worth of ice cream from room service while the team was in Chicago over the weekend, said his room looked like a ''national disaster.''
''I had peanut butter on my glasses,'' he said. ''It was a bad night, man.''
Indians manager Terry Francona isn't punishing rookie center fielder Tyler Naquin by sitting him in Game 7.
Naquin and right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall let a fly ball drop between them in the first inning of Game 6, a mistake that paved the way to Chicago's 9-3 win over Cleveland.
Later, Naquin came up with the bases loaded in the fourth but struck out.
Francona said he feels Naquin is ''pressing a little bit. During the regular season you might kind of let him get through it, but with one game left and with (Corey) Kluber pitching, we're trying to put a premium on catching the ball.''
Rajai Davis will start in center against Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks. With the prospect of facing lefties Aroldis Chapman and Jon Lester late in Game 7, Francona wanted to have the right-handed hitting Davis in the lineup.
''You can tell he's pressing,'' Francona said of Naquin, who is batting .143 in the Series. ''It's not punishment. It's trying to win.''
The Cleveland Indians are tweaking their outfield for Game 7 after a costly mistake in Game 6.
Center fielder Tyler Naquin is out and Rajai Davis is back in for Cleveland. Naquin and right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall let a fly ball drop between them and turn into a two-run double in the first inning of Tuesday night's loss.
Carlos Santana will lead off for the Indians, followed by Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor, Mike Napoli and Jose Ramirez. Chisenhall will hit sixth, with Davis seventh, Coco Crisp eighth and Roberto Perez catching and hitting ninth.
The Chicago Cubs are sticking with what works in Game 7 of the World Series.
The Cubs will use the same lineup that torched the Cleveland Indians for nine runs in a Game 6 win against Indians ace Corey Kluber on Wednesday night.
Dexter Fowler will lead off, followed by Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. Ben Zobrist, who is hitting .391 in the series, will hit fifth. Addison Russell, who tied a World Series record with six RBIs in Game 6, will hit sixth, followed by Willson Contreras, Jason Heyward and Javier Baez.
The Cubs have managed just one run off Kluber in his two starts in the Series, victories by the Indians in Game 1 and Game 4.
The Indians are bringing out one of their biggest bats for Game 7.
Jim Thome, the team's career home run leader, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch when the Indians and Cubs meet with one of the franchises finally ending a long championship drought.
Thome was a member of the last Cleveland team to play in the Series in 1997, when the Indians lost Game 7 to Florida. He has attended several games in this Series. Thome grew up in Illinois and rooted for the Cubs as a kid.
But his allegiance remains to the Indians, whom he played for from 1191-2002 and came back in 2011. The slugger hit 612 career homers – 337 during his time with Cleveland – and he's immortalized with a statue beyond the center-field wall.
There is a chance of rain in the late innings of World Series Game 7 at Cleveland's Progressive Field.
Unseasonably warm temperatures in the upper 60s or low 70s are forecast for Wednesday night. The chance of rain increases from 19 percent at 8 p.m. to 49 to 55 percent at 11 p.m., according to AccuWeather.
AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brian Wimer says in a statement: ''While a brief shower cannot be ruled out during Wednesday evening, if Game 7 runs late or goes into extra innings, then the chance of drenching rain will increase.''
Major League Baseball announced late Tuesday it was moving up the start time by 8 minutes to 8 p.m.
Last week, the start of Game 2 was moved up by 1 hour to 7:08 p.m. Light rain started in the eighth inning, and heavy rain hit shortly after the final out at about 11:15 p.m.