By: Jack Dunn ~Staff Writer~
The Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in a 10 inning Game 7 to end the longest championship drought in American sports. The contest led off in historic fashion and excited viewers throughout.
In what was supposed to be a duel between two aces, Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler homered off Indians pitcher Corey Kluber on the third pitch of the game.
It was the first leadoff home run in Game 7 history.
The Cubs would continue to add to their lead, eventually going up 5-1 in the top of the fifth, thanks to a home run by Javy Baez.
This prompted Indians manager Terry Francona to pull Kluber and replace him with relief pitcher Andrew Miller.
It was the first time in the season that Kluber failed to record a strikeout.
In the bottom of the fifth, after walking DH Carlos Santana with two outs, Cubs manager Joe Maddon pulled starter Kyle Hendricks and replaced him with Jon Lester, who made his first relief appearance since the 2007 ALCS with the Boston Red Sox. Lester then allowed a single and threw a wild pitch, allowing both runners to score and making the game 5-3.
The Cubs quickly struck back in the next inning. David Ross, in his final at bat of his 14-year career, homered off Miller to make the score 6-3. He became the oldest player in Major League history to homer in a World Series Game 7, beating the record by just three days.
Things quickly turned south for the Cubs in the eighth. Closer Aroldis Chapman gave up three runs, including a two-run homer to Rajai Davis, to tie the game at six. It appeared that the curse of the Billy Goat was still alive for the Chicago Cubs.
After neither team did anything in the ninth, the game would have to wait out a 17-minute rain delay before play could resume in extras.
The Cubs led off the 10th inning with a Kyle Schwarber single to right. He was lifted for pinch runner Albert Almora Jr.
Kris Bryant then flew out to center, but Almora Jr. advanced to second after tagging up. This led to the intentional walk of first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Eventual World Series MVP Ben Zobrist doubled in the go-ahead run.
Miguel Montero then added an extra run for insurance with a single to left.
The Indians started to make a comeback. Eighth inning hero Davis singled in a run with two outs in the bottom of the 10th. However, with the tying run on base, Michael Martinez grounded out to Bryant to end the game.
Game 7 was the most watched baseball game in 25 years. More than 40 million viewers tuned in, a 66 percent increase in viewership over Game 7 of the 2015 World Series.
The 2016 season came to a close in a miraculous fashion. Baseball will return in February when pitchers and catchers will report for Spring Training.