Indians-Cubs World Series Game 5: Final score, things to know as Cubs force Game 6
The Cubs are still alive thanks to their 3-2 win in Game 5 on Sunday
The Chicago Cubs are still alive.
The Indians jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead on Jose Ramirez's second-inning homer, but the Cubs rallied for three runs in the fourth to take the lead. Kris Bryant's solo home run was the big blow. Aroldis Chapman recorded an eight-out save to extend the series.
Game 6 will be played at 8 p.m. ET at Progressive Field on Tuesday. Monday is an off-day for travel. We'll have more on Chicago's Game 5 win shortly. Relive our live commentary from a dramatic Game 5:
Here are some things to know about Game 5.
Maddon's risky decision works
Our very own Mike Axisa said it best when he said Joe Maddon set himself up for a reverse Grady Little situation -- that is, Maddon seemingly removed starter Jon Lester too early, as opposed to too late.
Maddon lifted Lester after six good innings and 90 pitches. He inserted Carl Edwards Jr., a promising reliever, but one on a short leash. How could we tell? Because Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman was warming from the start of the seventh inning. Edwards would retire one batter and allow a hit before Maddon motioned for Chapman.
Tasking any reliever with getting eight outs is risky business, but Chapman proved up for it. He allowed just one runner and struck out four batters, including Jose Ramirez to end the game. It wasn't Chapman's most efficient outing (he threw 42 pitches) but it was, however, the first time he had ever recorded more than seven outs, and the third time he had thrown more than 40 pitches, according to Play Index.
The reason Maddon's decision was risky was multifold.
Foremost, it relied on Edwards Jr. to do his job -- or to keep the ball in the park -- long enough for Chapman to warm. There was no obvious reason to lift Lester at that point, other than the decision to pinch-hit Miguel Montero for David Ross. Yet with Lester rolling -- again, he had thrown a good six frames -- the most practical solution would've been to allow Lester to begin the inning. If he got into trouble, well, Chapman probably would've been ready to go by then.
None of this matters now -- Edwards Jr. didn't give up the lead; Chapman was highly effective; and so on -- but it was questionable managing to allow anyone but Lester or Chapman to throw a pitch in this game. Give Maddon credit for being aggressive with his closer, just realize this could've gone left before Chapman entered.
Lester retains, improves big-game reputation
Speaking of Lester, he only added to his postseason mystique. He entered Sunday's game with a career 2.60 ERA and 3.60 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 20 career playoff appearances (18 of which were starts). Those numbers made him one of the better postseason performers of his generation. Lester then became the first National League starter to strike out the first three batters in a World Series game since John Smoltz in 1996, per the Fox broadcast.
Yet, unbelievably, Game 5 marked the first time Lester had won an elimination game. Previously, Lester's teams had been 0-2 in elimination games in which he started -- the 2014 Athletics and the 2008 Red Sox. That's a matter of a small sample as much as anything, but it was also a nice bit of course correction.
Indians remain title favorites
Though the Indians lost, the odds of winning the World Series are still in their favor.
Teams that hold a 3-2 lead in the World Series have won 68.9 percent of those series. And a 3-2 lead in any series? They won 70.4 percent. If we include the fact the Indians will host the remaining two games (or one game, potentially), then those percentages move to 77.8 percent and 78.7 percent.
Basically, the Indians are in a good spot. Not necessarily as good as they were entering Sunday, but a good spot nonetheless.
The Cubs win World Series game at Wrigley
It took three tries, but the Cubs finally recorded their first World Series home victory since Game 6 of the 1945 World Series -- that was played on October 8, 1945, 71 years ago.
Sadly, there weren't many parallels between the two victories. The Cubs won that game by an 8-7 final in 12 innings over the Detroit Tigers. They would lose in Game 7, obviously.
Bauer being Bauer
In the early going, Indians starter Trevor Bauer looked unhittable. He fanned five batters over the first two innings, and had his fastball-curveball working. Then the fourth inning rolled around, and Bauer started catching too much of the plate with his fastball.
The results? A Kris Bryant home run, an Anthony Rizzo double and a Ben Zobrist single, all in a row. Addison Russell then hit an infield single that plated a run, and a few batters later Zobrist scored on a sacrifice fly. Bauer would complete the fourth inning, and that would be the end of his day: four innings, six hits, three runs.
From impressive to blah in the span of a few batters. That's Bauer for you.
Bryant makes history
As previously mentioned, Bryant homered in the fourth inning. See here for evidence:
Later in the game, Bryant stole a base. It didn't result in a run or anything, but it did mark the first time in Cubs history a player homered and burglarized in the same World Series game:
Safe bet: won't be the last franchise record Bryant establishes.
Zobrist being not-Zobrist
Also as previously mentioned, Zobrist singled as part of the Cubs' big fourth inning. That knock came on a 3-0 pitch. Significant? You betcha. Here's why:
Ben Zobrist 3-and-0 swings— Jeff Sullivan (@based_ball) October 31, 2016
Zobrist is one of the best strike-zone handlers in baseball, which leads to his patient approach. Obviously he altered that Sunday, and it worked once, anyway. Zobrist's other 3-0 swing took place in the seventh inning. Said swing resulted in a foul tip strike.
Lester still won't throw to first base
Just in case you were wondering, take a look at the lead Rajai Davis -- one of baseball's best thieves -- broke out against Lester:
"Rajai Davis scores on infield single" pic.twitter.com/o9FcBEBL9r— August Fagerstrom (@AugustFG_) October 31, 2016
No, Lester didn't throw over. Yes, Davis did steal. He stole two other times Sunday as well, though he scored just once.
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