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Baseball Daily Dose

Daily Dose: Indians Win Game 4

by Nathan Grimm
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Corey Kluber's arm was at it again, but it was his bat and his legs that helped the Indians pull within one game of a World Series championship.

 

Kluber held the Cubs to one run over six innings while pitching in three days' rest, and a swinging bunt with two outs in the second inning gave the Tribe a lead they wouldn't relinquish in Saturday's 7-2 win.

 

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After Carlos Santana led off the frame with a solo homer to knot the game at 1-1, the Indians manufactured another scoring opportunity after a one-out error and a two-out intentional walk to outfielder Tyler Naquin -- a move Cubs starter John Lackey appeared to dislike from the outset -- brought Kluber to the plate. Kluber had never had a postseason at-bat and was 2-for-17 at the dish in his six-year career heading into Saturday's contest.

 

Kluber saw seven pitches in the plate appearance, fouling off multiple fastballs to stay alive, before he tapped the eighth fastball a few feet toward third baseman Kris Bryant. Kluber, hustling down the line, beat the slightly errant throw from Bryant, and in the aftermath Lonnie Chisenhall raced home to give the Indians a 2-1 lead.

 

And the right-hander made the lead stand up. Pitching just four days after he mowed down the Cubs in a Game 1 shutout, Kluber was less dominant but still plenty effective Saturday. He gave up just five hits, including an RBI single by Anthony Rizzo in the first inning, while walking one and striking out six over his six innings.

 

Lackey was more vulnerable but kept his club in the game, keeping the Tribe to three runs -- two earned -- in five innings. It was the first time he'd gotten through five innings in three starts this postseason.

 

If a 3-1 lead felt insurmountable for a struggling offense, Jason Kipnis put the game out of reach with a three-run home run off Travis Wood in the seventh inning. The home run was just the third three-run homer in a World Series game in Wrigley Field history, for whatever that largely meaningless stat is worth.

 

A less-meaningless stat: only four teams have ever come back from down 3-1 to win the World Series. That's what the Cubs are now faced with if they want to break a championship drought that dates back to 1908.

 

They've got the team to do it, starting with ace Jon Lester going Sunday against Trevor Bauer for the Indians. A win prolongs the series until Tuesday, for a Game 6 in Cleveland. A loss, well ... Wrigley will get to see a championship celebration. Just not the one they want.

 

Quick Hits: Kenley Jansen received the Trevor Hoffman Award as the National League's top reliever for 2016. Washington's Mark Melancon would also have been a worthy recipient but Jansen was plenty deserving of the award. He tied Melancon and Zach Britton for second in the majors with 47 saves while recording his lowest ERA since 2010. The big right-hander holds an overpowering 13.92 K/9 over 409 career appearances. Headed for free agency this winter, Jansen will join Aroldis Chapman as one of the most coveted relievers on the market ... on the other side, Zach Britton received the Mariano Rivera Award as the American League's top reliever for 2016. It's hard to believe anyone could be better than Andrew Miller, but Britton was during the regular season. In fact, no reliever in baseball was quite as dominant as Britton this year. He yielded just four earned runs across 69 outings this season and converted all 47 of his save chances. Orioles manager Buck Showalter made a critical error by not using him in Baltimore's Wild Card loss to Toronto earlier this month. It's unlikely he'll win the award, but Britton should earn his fair share of Cy Young votes ... According to toxicology reports released on Saturday, Jose Fernandez had cocaine and alcohol in his system when he and two friends were killed in a tragic boating accident in late September. His blood alcohol content was more than double the legal limit and he had detectable traces of cocaine in his system. It remains unclear who was driving the boat at the time of the crash, but the report concludes that the driver of the boat had been driving with "recklessness" which was "exacerbated by the consumption of alcohol". It's a sad revelation in a no-less-tragic story.