Going back to Cleveland
CHICAGO — Unable to close the deal in wild and windy Wrigley Field, the Cleveland Indians are heading home a win short.
One more. That’s all they need. A rare opportunity they can’t let slip away.
But that 68-year title wait isn’t over yet.
Trevor Bauer had one shaky inning Sunday night and that was enough for the Chicago Cubs to claim their first World Series win at Wrigley since 1945, an intense 3-2 victory in Game 5 that prevented Cleveland players from spraying champagne inside the ballpark’s ivy-covered walls.
The Indians, who managed to take two of three while playing by National League rules in Chicago, will get their next chance to win a first Series title since 1948 on Tuesday night at Progressive Field, where they went 53-28 during the regular season and are 5-1 in the postseason.
“We’re in good position still,” first baseman Mike Napoli said. “We’re up 3-2 and going home. We did what we had to do here. We put ourselves in position to try and win it in a crazy atmosphere. Now we’re going to go home and try and win it in front of our fans.
“We’re still a confident group. Nobody’s hanging their head in the clubhouse. We’re all packing up to go home, sleep in our own beds and get after it when the time comes.”
Josh Tomlin will start Game 6 on short rest against Jake Arrieta, and if he can’t finish the job for the Indians, they still have an ace up their sleeve. Corey Kluber, who has won both his starts in this Series, will be ready again on three days’ rest for Game 7 — if necessary.
Cleveland fans are hoping it isn’t.
The drone-flying Bauer, whose postseason was briefly a bloody mess, soared through the first three innings, matching Chicago’s Jon Lester almost pitch for pitch. Bauer struck out the side in the first and only gave up a single over the first three innings before he got into trouble in the fourth.
Bauer lost for the second time in the Series and more than a few Cubs fans weren’t about to let him leave town without some postgame taunts.
As Bauer stood near the Indians’ dugout following the game, one fan waving a “W” flag screamed: “Bauer, can you pitch Game 6? One more time.”
Another fan thanked Bauer for losing.
This time, he fired back.
“Be sure to thank me when you lose Game 6,” he hollered before heading to the Indians’ cramped clubhouse.
In the fourth, Kris Bryant tattooed Bauer for a leadoff homer, and by the time the inning was over, he had allowed three runs and put the Indians in a hole that proved to be just a little too deep.
After Bryant’s homer into the left-field bleachers, Anthony Rizzo doubled off the right-field wall and soon Cubs fans were bellowing “Bow-er, Bow-er,” hoping to rattle the right-hander who has been prone to big innings all year and only recently had 11 stitches removed from his pinkie after slicing it open while repairing one of his remote-controlled models.
Ben Zobrist followed Rizzo’s double by lacing a single to center and then the Cubs took a softer approach, getting an infield roller, bunt single and sacrifice fly to take a 3-1 lead.
Still, Bauer felt good about his outing.
“I felt great,” he said. “I threw the ball really well. Had command of all my pitches, but I wanted to win tonight. We’ve got to win one more game.”
The Indians, whose season has been marked by resilience and comebacks both personal and collective, closed to 3-2 in the sixth on Francisco Lindor’s RBI single .
They also had scoring chances in the seventh and eighth against Cubs flame-thrower Aroldis Chapman, summoned by manager Joe Maddon earlier than usual with Chicago’s season dangling by a thread.
Lindor came up again in the eighth, and with a chance to drive in the tying run from third with two outs, he looked at strike three — a 101 mph, four-seam fastball that he thought was low.
Cleveland’s star shortstop, thrown out trying to steal second in the sixth, spent more than 20 seconds standing in the batter’s box. He seemed upset at both plate umpire Tony Randazzo and himself. Lindor slowly lifted his helmet and peeled off his gloves before taking the field.
He and the Indians will have another chance, maybe two, where the confines are friendlier.
“Our fans are unreal,” Lindor said. “The whole entire time they’ve been great. I’m looking forward to going home and, hopefully, getting the win over there.”
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.