World Series: Cubs crush Indians to force Game 7

World Series: Cubs crush Indians to force Game 7


CLEVELAND -- One more game. For everything.

Either a 108-year World Series championship drought will come to an end, or another that's lasted 68 years.

Hysteria for one fan base, more heartbreak for the other.

Cubs vs. Indians in a winner-take-all Game 7.

As it should be.

"It's just correct and apt that we'd go seven games," Chicago manager Joe Maddon said.

Addison Russell hit a grand slam and tied a Series record with six RBIs, and Chicago took advantage of a huge early misplay in Cleveland's outfield as the Cubs, their offense finally revving, throttled the Indians 9-3 on Tuesday night in Game 6 to push this tense tug-of-war between baseball's two longest title drought holders to the limit.

The biggest, most nerve-wracking day lies ahead.

"This is kind of fitting for these two franchises. This is storybook," Cubs catcher David Ross said. "They'll make movies about this one day."

Indians ace Corey Kluber, dominant while winning Games 1 and 4, starts again on short rest Wednesday night at home against big league ERA leader Kyle Hendricks.

Cleveland's hopes will rest with their best pitcher, the one guy they've been able to count on all season.

"We knew it wasn't going to be easy," said Jason Kipnis, who homered and had three hits. "We knew they've got a great ballclub over there. They were lined up with their three-headed monster of a pitching staff. We're still very confident."

Kris Bryant homered to spark a three-run first inning, Russell hit the first Series slam in 11 years and Jake Arrieta worked into the sixth as the Cubs, down 3-1 back at Wrigley Field, are now rolling. One more win at Progressive Field would bring their first championship since 1908.

The Indians, trying for their first title since 1948, missed a second shot at closing out the Cubs. Cleveland is now forced to play another Game 7 after losing in 11 innings to the Florida Marlins in 1997 in its last trip to the Series.

Not wanting to take any chances despite a comfortable late lead, Maddon used atomic-armed Aroldis Chapman for one out in the seventh, the eighth and one batter in the ninth. The lefty, who got the final eight outs in Game 5, threw just 20 pitches and will be on call for the season's final game when both managers won't hesitate to use any arm they've got.

The Cubbies, shut out twice earlier in this Series, brought their clubbies to Cleveland. Bryant had four hits and Anthony Rizzo added three, including a two-run homer.

They hammered Josh Tomlin, who couldn't get out of the third inning and didn't get any help from his outfield in the first. The right-hander, who was so effective in Game 3 at Wrigley Field, pitched on short rest for the second time in his career but wasn't the problem as much as his location.

Everything seemed to be lined up for a massive downtown street party in Cleveland.

On an unseasonably warm November day, fans came hoping to witness the first championship win at home by a Cleveland team since the Browns took the NFL title in 1964 by shutting out the Baltimore Colts.

With Eddie Robinson -- the last living member from that '48 title team -- in attendance, and LeBron James and the NBA champion Cavaliers coming over from Quicken Loans Arena after they beat Houston, Cleveland was poised to have a night to remember like the one just 134 days ago in June when the Cavs ended the city's 52-year championship dry spell.

The Cubs blew through those plans like a wicked wind off Lake Michigan.

Arrieta wasn't dominant, but he didn't have to be. Staked to the early lead, he held the Indians without a hit until the fourth when Kipnis doubled leading off and scored on Mike Napoli's single.

Arrieta worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth, and gave up a homer to Kipnis in the fifth but struck out nine.

Maddon came to get him in the sixth, the right-hander got several pats on the back from Chicago's infielders and Cubs fans saluted him with a standing ovation.

Tomlin was one strike from getting out of the first unscathed when everything fell apart.

He had Bryant down 0-2 when he hung a waist-high curveball that Chicago's third baseman, who came in just 2 for 17 in the Series but had homered in Game 5, cracked nearly halfway up the bleachers in left field, a 433-foot shot that sent a shockwave through standing-room-only Progressive Field.

There was a bigger one to come.

Rizzo and Ben Zobrist followed with singles before Tomlin got Russell to hit what appeared to be a routine out. However, right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall and rookie center fielder Tyler Naquin, perhaps unable to hear each other over the roaring crowd, looked at each other and let the ball drop onto the grass for a double.

While they scrambled to recover it, Rizzo scored easily and Zobrist beat a relay throw to the plate, bowling over Indians catcher Roberto Perez as a sizeable contingent of Cubs screamed with delight.

"It was just loud at there," Naquin said. "It was kind of one of those in-betweeners. Lonnie got a good break, I got a break, it's just one of those deals. In the moment, me being the center fielder, I need to take charge on that. That's my mistake."

Although it was early, with Arrieta on the mound, Chicago's lead felt more like 30-0 than 3-0.

Russell, who dressed up like a Ninja turtle on Halloween, then put a fright into Indians fans with his shot to deep left-center.

With two on, Indians reliever Dan Otero placed a 2-0 pitch over the heart of the plate to Russell, who launched it over the wall spent much of his home-run trot howling.

The Cubs were loud all night, and with one more win they'll be champions.

"I hope it's not difficult to sleep. It's every kid's dream. It all comes down to Game 7," Russell said.

Fall classics
Bryant and Rizzo became the first 3-4 hitters to combine for seven hits in a Series game. ... Kipnis went 3 for 4 with a single, double and home run. He has two in this Series, joining Willie Stargell and Roy Campanella as the only players to accomplish that. ... Cleveland's pitchers have 59 strikeouts, tied for the fourth most in Series history. The 2001 Yankees had 70.

Seventh heaven
The Cubs and Indians each have 0-2 records in Game 7. Chicago lost the 1945 World Series to Detroit and the 2003 NLCS to Florida, both at Wrigley. ... Along with the '97 Series loss, the Indians dropped the 2007 ALCS at Boston. . The Series has gone the distance three times in six years. San Francisco defeated Kansas City in the last seven-gamer in 2014. . Home teams are 18-19 all-time in Game 7.

Me and the Mick
At 22, Russell became the second-youngest player to hit a grand slam in the World Series. Yankees legend Mickey Mantle was 21 when he hit one on Oct. 4, 1953 against Brooklyn. Russell is the first Cubs to player to connect for a slam in the Series.

Phillies' surprise honor for David Montgomery

Photo: Miles Kennedy

Phillies' surprise honor for David Montgomery

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Phillies officials were conducting a meeting Thursday morning on the executive level of Spectrum Field to discuss plans for an expansion to the minor-league complex.

Just before 9:30 a.m., Dave Buck, the club's executive vice president, asked the group to take a walk over to the complex to look at some of the proposed changes.

It was all a ruse, a little ploy to lure David Montgomery to the other side and to an honor that left even the hardest of baseball men with a tear welling behind their sunglasses.

The Phillies named their indoor training facility in honor of Montgomery in a moving 30-minute ceremony that was attended by ownership, front office officials, many of the team's scouts and every player — including 175 minor leaguers — coach and manager in the organization.

Montgomery, who became club chairman in 2015, knew something was up when he saw the players assembled in uniform in the bullpen at the minor-league complex.

"I saw Odubel (Herrera) standing over there and thought, 'He's at the wrong field,' " Montgomery said after the event. "The next thing I know, Dave Buck is pushing me into the middle of this.

"I was stunned. I'm overwhelmed by what the organization has done."

Montgomery joined the Phillies' sales department in 1971 and eventually rose to club president in 1997. His contributions include a lucrative television deal, Citizens Bank Park and the 2008 World Series title. 

His love for the Phillies started way before that.

"My first memory is going to Connie Mack Stadium when I was about five," Montgomery said. "We had linoleum in our porch in the back in our house in Roxborough. I used to try and slide on the linoleum the way Richie Ashburn would slide into the bases. Then at age 24, I'm literally working with and sitting next to Richie in a cubicle at Veterans Stadium.

"I've just been so fortunate. I've had the opportunity to work for the team I rooted for in the city I've lived in and loved my entire life."

John Middleton, the team's managing partner, spoke during the ceremony. He described Montgomery as "a baseball man" and told the players that the state of the art facilities that they work and train in were the result of Montgomery's vision and commitment to player development. The Carpenter Complex minor-league facility has grown substantially since it was first planned and brought to life in the late 1960s by the late Paul Owens, the legendary Phillies executive for whom the entire complex is named.

Lifelong Phillies Roly deArmas and Larry Bowa spoke from the heart about how Montgomery always put respecting others first.

"David, you are the Phillie Way," Bowa said.

A banner emblazoned with the words David P. Montgomery Baseball Performance Center was unfurled. Montgomery looked at it with a tear in his eye.

"It's not about structures, though I couldn't be more honored," he said.

"It's about people."

Jake Arrieta's fastball pops in Phillies spring debut


Jake Arrieta's fastball pops in Phillies spring debut

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Newly signed Phillies ace Jake Arrieta pitched two innings against the Detroit Tigers in his spring debut with the club Thursday. He gave up three hits and two runs and exited after 31 pitches, 22 of which were strikes.

Wearing No. 49, Arrieta took the mound in his shirtsleeves on a breezy 61-degree day. He struck out the first batter he faced, JaCoby Jones, on three pitches. He also struck out the second hitter, Jeimer Candelario. The next batter, two-time American League MVP Miguel Cabrera, took Arrieta deep when he lined a 2-1 fastball over the rightfield wall. The line drive got a little help from the wind.

Arrieta allowed a single, a double and a run in the second inning. He also threw a wild pitch.

One positive to emerge from the outing: Arrieta's fastball touched 95 mph on the stadium radar gun. He also threw several fastballs the registered 94. Arrieta's fastball velocity had been a concern as it dropped from 94.9 mph in his Cy Young season of 2015 to 92.6 mph last season, according to PITCHf/x data.

Arrieta figures to make at least one more start in Florida, either in a major league or minor league game. The Phillies have not announced when he will step into the regular-season rotation. The pitcher believes he can be ready for the first week of the season.

Pat Neshek followed Arrieta and pitched the third inning.