The Latest: Fowler's homer has Cubs up 1-0 after 2 in Game 7
CLEVELAND (AP) The Latest on Game 7 of the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians on Wednesday (all times local):
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 let a fly ball drop between him and right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall 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 by centerfielder Tyler Naquin in Game 6.
Naquin, who let a fly ball turn into a two-run double in the first inning of Tuesday night's loss, is out and Rajai Davis is back in for Cleveland.
Carlos Santana will lead off for the Indians, followed by Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor, Mike Napoli and Jose Ramirez. Lonnie 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.