It was a moment that many did not think they would ever see. Leading 8-7 with two outs in the 10th innings and the tying run on base, Mike Montgomery induced the weak bouncer toward third. Kris Bryant fielded the ball and with a smile on his face threw across to Anthony Rizzo for the final out of The World Series. The Cubs did it. The Cubs won The World Series.
In what has been called the best Game 7 of all-time and arguably the greatest game ever, the Cubs flipped the script and became Champions of the Baseball World with the 8-7 win in 10 innings over the Indians. Nothing in the sport, absolutely nothing, will ever top what this Cubs team did this past season.
On Nov. 2, 2016 in Cleveland, the Chicago Cubs won The World Series.
Game 7 had it all. The Cubs built an early lead on a leadoff homer from Dexter Fowler and broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning.
Kris Bryant singled off Corey Kluber to start the fourth. Rizzo was hit by a pitch. Zobrist grounded into a 3-6 fielder’s choice. The Indians inability to turn the double play gave the Cubs an extra out in the inning and they took advantage of the mistake.
With runners on the corners and one out, Addison Russell hit a sac fly to center. Bryant tagged and scored as Davis caught the ball flatfooted. Willson Contreras followed with a double. Ben Zobrist scored and after four, the Cubs led 3-1.
Javier Baez was first up in the fifth. Francona left Kluber in to at least face Baez, and the decision cost the Indians. Baez took Kluber deep, the Cubs went up 4-1 and Francona made the slow walk to the mound.
Andrew Miller made his way in and was greeted by a Fowler single. Schwarber grounded into a double play. Kris Bryant put together an excellent at bat and worked a two-out walk. Bryant took off for second and Rizzo responded with a single to right. Bryant scored, 5-1 Cubs.
After taking a 5-1 lead into the fifth, Kyle Hendricks did not get a call, Joe Maddon went to his pen with two outs and brought in Jon Lester and David Ross to bridge the game to Aroldis Chapman. The Indians scored two runs on an error by Ross and a wild pitch. The Cubs got one of the runs right back in the sixth on an improbable homer off the bat of David Ross.
In what turned out to be the last official at-bat of his big league career, Ross took Andrew Miller out to center.
The Cubs had a 6-3 lead after Ross’ solo shot and Lester kept the Indians off the board in the sixth and seventh innings.
The Indians tied the game in the eighth off a gassed Aroldis Chapman. A Brandon Guyer double scored Jose Ramirez, made it a 6-4 game and brought the tying run to the plate in Rajai Davis. Chapman could not retire Davis. And he lined a two-run shot to left that tied the game at six. To Chapman’s credit, he did not allow the Indians to take the lead after giving up a single to Coco Crisp following the Davis’ two-run shot.
The Cubs could not push across a run in the ninth, but were able to impact the outcome of the game. Chris Coghlan ran for David Ross after he worked a walk to start the ninth. Jason Heyward grounded out to second, Coghlan was forced at second. Heyward reached, stole second and went to third on a throwing error. That play changed the game.
With the go-ahead run at third and one down, Terry Francona changed his defense to get better arms in the outfield. Guyer moved from right to left field. Michael Martinez replaced Coco Crisp in the batting order as he entered the game to play right field.
Maddon called for a squeeze bunt with two strikes on Baez and Heyward at third. Javier Baez fouled it off for strike three. Francisco Lindor took away a single from Fowler on a ball that appeared to be a single off the bat to end the inning.
Miguel Montero entered the game as the Cubs third catcher of the night. Montero navigated Chapman through the ninth inning and Game 7 went to the 10th inning tied at six as the rain picked up at Progressive Field.
The umps called for the tarp and as it turned out, the now legendary 17-minute rain delay was exactly what the Cubs needed. Jason Heyward called a players meeting and the Cubs were able to hit the reset button.
Kyle Schwarber started the 10th inning with a single to right through the shift. Albert Almora Jr. ran for Schwarber and tagged on a deep fly to center from Kris Bryant. The Indians did not pitch to Anthony Rizzo and walked him to take their chances in a tie game with Ben Zobrist.
Ben Zobrist delivered the biggest hit in Cubs’ history, a one-out double to left.
Almora Jr. scored, the Cubs took a 7-6 lead but were not done. Addison Russell was walked to load the bases for Montero.
Miguel Montero singled to left. Rizzo scored, 8-6 Cubs, and Francona went to his bullpen with the bases loaded and one out. Trevor Bauer replaced Bryan Shaw. Heyward struck out and Baez flied out to center to end the inning.
Carl Edwards Jr. was called on for the bottom of the 10th inning. With a championship on the line, Edwards Jr. struck out Mike Napoli and Jose Ramirez grounded out to short. Edwards Jr. walked Brandon Guyer. With Davis at the plate representing the tying run, again, Guyer took second on defensive indifference. Davis singled to center, Guyer scored. The Cubs lead was cut to 8-7 and Maddon went to his pen.
Mike Montgomery was called on to face Michael Martinez and two pitches later …
… the Cubs were the World Series Champions …
What a game. What a season. What a team.
The 2016 World Series Champion, Chicago Cubs