The Cleveland Indians moved to within one win of the World Series with a 7-2 rout of the Chicago Cubs which moved them 3-1 ahead in the best-of-seven Fall Classic.
The Cubs, appearing in the World Series for the first time in 71 years and looking for their first title since 1908, are now on the brink of elimination after a lacklustre display in their second successive loss before a hushed Wrigley Field crowd.
The Indians were powered by home runs from Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis, and gifted with runs from some sloppy fielding and misfiring pitching. Kipnis and Santana had three hits each to pace Cleveland’s relentless 10-hit attack.
Ace Corey Kluber, the Game One winner, once again shut the door on the Cubs, holding them to one run in six innings of work for his second victory, putting the Indians in reach of their first championship triumph in 68 years.
The right-hander extended his outstanding postseason run to three earned runs in 30 1/3 innings for a 0.89 ERA.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona said he would not tinker with his team’s attitude or approach going into Sunday’s potential Series clincher.
“Nothing changes,” said Francona. “We’ll show up and try to beat a really good pitcher tomorrow and that’s what we always do.”
“We made mistakes. Absolutely, we made mistakes tonight,” said Cubs manager Joe Maddon. “That was part of it. But then again, we just have to do more offensively to give ourselves a chance.
“You’re going to make mistakes on occasion. You have to be able to play through the tough moments by doing something offensively, and we haven’t been able to do that.”
Six teams have come back from 3-1 deficits to win the World Series, the last to succeed being the Kansas City Royals who overcame the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985.