Cubs squeak by in World Series nail-biter, live to fight another day

Cubs squeak by in World Series nail-biter, live to fight another day

Wrigley Field has now seen a Cubs World Series victory in the last seven decades.

On a momentous weekend, the holiday-esque atmosphere around Wrigley Field had the air taken out of it with a pair of losses to the Cleveland Indians on Friday and Saturday nights.

But the Cubs rallied back, keeping the series alive for at least one more game after a 3-2 victory over the Indians in front of 41,711 fans at Wrigley Field Sunday night.

"We're enjoying this win and it's nice to give these fans something to cheer for," David Ross said. "It was nice hearing 'Go Cubs go' after the game.

"We're excited about this win. Hopefully with this momentum, we can take this into Cleveland in two days and kinda go from there."

The formula that led to 111 victories entering this weekend once again showed itself after a two-game absence.

The Cubs played stellar defense, rekindled their offensive approach and executed on the mound, getting another strong start from ace Jon Lester.

"It was a phenomenal game," Ross said. "Well-played, well-pitched by both sides. That's your typical World Series game: 3-2, comes down to every pitch, every play made."

Kris Bryant had been having a rough World Series, but led off the fourth inning with a homer that jumpstarted the Cubs offense.

Anthony Rizzo followed with a double and, after a Ben Zobrist single, scored on Addison Russell's infield chopper. 

Javy Baez laid down a perfect bunt base hit and David Ross - playing in his final home game of his career - worked a professional at-bat to drive home the third run with a sacrifice fly.

That was all the offense the Cubs could muster up, however, as the Indians bullpen once again held them in check. But it was enough.

The Indians scored in the second on a Jose Ramirez homer and two-out single from Francisco Lindor in the sixth.

But that was all Lester allowed, once again showing his postseason grit in six innings.

Carl Edwards Jr. came out for the seventh, but was only able to get one out before Joe Maddon called on closer Aroldis Chapman early.

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Chapman got out of jams in the seventh and eighth and even had an at bat, striking out in the eighth with Jason Heyward on third base.

Chapman - whose season high in pitches was 36 - tossed 42 pitches to keep the Cubs' hopes alive, tossing the longest outing of his career (2.2 innings).

The Cubs now send Jake Arrieta to the mound for Game 6 in Cleveland Tuesday night against Josh Tomlin working on short rest.

Kyle Schwarber will also return to the lineup as the designated hitter.

From an entertainment perspective, if you're a baseball fan or looking to become a baseball fan, it was wonderful tonight, outstanding," Joe Maddon said.

"I like to believe we're going to catch or gain some momentum from this game going back over there."

Brandon Kintzler returns to Cubs bullpen, 'inspired' by Anthony Rizzo

Brandon Kintzler returns to Cubs bullpen, 'inspired' by Anthony Rizzo

Count Cubs reliever Brandon Kintzler as one of many inspired by Anthony Rizzo’s stunning return to the starting lineup on Thursday.

Kintzler was nursing a mild left oblique strain that had kept him out of action since Sept. 10. While Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Thursday that the plan was for the 35-year-old to throw a bullpen session either Friday or Saturday, that soon changed.

“Yeah, I mean Rizzo inspired me,” Kintzler said with a smile on Friday. “I can’t sit here and worry about [an] oblique and this guy’s got one leg.”

Make no mistake, many MLB players aren’t feeling 100 percent come September each season. The Cubs are witnessing this firsthand, as Kris Bryant (knee) Javier Báez (thumb) and Rizzo (ankle) are among those dealing with injuries right now. Kintzler is no exception to this fact.

“It’s September,” he said with a laugh on Friday. “We’ll leave it all out there and see what happens.”

Granted, Kintzler did say that Friday he felt good. However, if it were earlier in the season, you can bet he’d throw a bullpen session, at the least, before returning to game action.

The Cubs bullpen has been stellar this month despite Kintzler’s nine-game absence. Entering Friday’s game, Cubs relievers have posted a 2.32 ERA, No. 1 in baseball by a comfortable margin over the second-ranked Rays (2.68). Kintzler and his 2.82 ERA should only help this cause.

Still, with the Cardinals in town and time running out for the Cubs to put a strangle hold on a postseason spot, it’s all hands on deck for the North Siders.

“These are important games, and I want to be a part of it,” Kintzler said. “I’ve been waiting all year to pitch in important games at Wrigley in September, so I’m not gonna waste a bullpen on it.”

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MLB Power Rankings: The final week is here

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MLB Power Rankings: The final week is here

We've only got a few of these left! This is the penultimate Power Rankings for the 2019 season, and like HBO, it's our most exciting yet. Changes at 14-15! A 2-spot fall for a playoff contender? The Tigers are still bad!

Just here for the slideshow? Happy to see this stupid joke format go away after next week?