CLEVELAND -- Breaking down Game 2 of the World Series between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field.
Cubs 5, Indians 1: Series tied, 1-1.
The game: The Cubs jumped out to an early lead against Trevor Bauer in the top of the first on an RBI double by Anthony Rizzo that scored Kris Bryant. But Cubs starter Jake Arrieta struggled with his fastball command in the bottom half of the same inning, walking Francisco Lindor and Mike Napoli in succession before getting Jose Ramirez to fly out to escape the jam.
From there, Arrieta settled down, reigning in his early wildness and yielding a handful of fly-ball outs knocked down by wind blowing in from center field. Though Arrieta did not appear to have the best feel for his stuff on a frigid night, he held the Indians hitless through 5 1/3 before a Jason Kipnis double ended his no-hit bid. Kipnis scored two batters later on a wild pitch.
With his pitch count escalating, Arrieta left the game with two outs in the sixth for lefty Mike Montgomery. Montgomery followed with his best Andrew Miller imitating, striking out four batters over two innings before closer Aroldis Chapman came on for a four-out save.
The Cubs kept pressing against Bauer, adding a run on a two-out rally in the third and chased the right-hander by the top of the fourth. Fireballer Zach McCallister relieved Bauer and hit trouble in the fifth after a 10-pitch walk to Anthony Rizzo, who'd score on an ensuring Ben Zobrist triple.
Also, Aroldis Chapman got his first taste of the World Series, and it was largely a velocity-fueled success. Chapman recorded the final four outs – inheriting a runner in the eighth, but not qualifying for a save – in the Cubs’ 5-1 Game 2 victory.
In the ninth inning, Chapman threw 18 pitches, all but one at least hitting 97 mph on the radar gun, and 10 reaching triple digits.
Pivot point: The Indians' best opportunity for multiple runs may have come in the first inning, with Arrieta struggling to throw strikes and putting two batters aboard. Ramirez hit the ball hard, but well within reach of Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler. Cubs pitching proved far more formidable thereafter.
Man of the moment: Two days ago, Kyle Schwarber was playing in the Arizona Fall League in front of some 100 fans. The 23-year-old slugger and Ohio native suffered multiple torn ligaments in his knee in an outfield collision on April 7 and was expected to miss the entire season. He rehabbed with only two games in Arizona before joining the Cubs' World Series roster and going 1-for-3 with a double and a walk in Game 1. In Game 2, he went 2-for-3 with a walk and drove in two of the Cubs' five runs.
Needing a mulligan: Jason Kipnis, a Chicago-area native and noted defender of former neighbor Steve Bartman, made a pair of errors in the field for the Indians. The normally slick-fielding second baseman cost teammate Francisco Lindor a chance at a brilliant play when he failed to corral Lindor's behind-the-back flip on a diving stop of a potential double-play ball.
What you missed on TV: A sold-out crowd with a strong Cubs-fan presence weathering the blistering cold weather on a dreary day in Cleveland. Like many of the game's fly balls, even the nightly "O-H-I-O" chant during Hang on Sloopy seemed suppressed by the chill and strong winds. The expected rain held out for the game, but the weather remained a factor.
State of the series: After an off day Thursday, the teams will play Game 3 of the series Friday night in Chicago. Josh Tomlin will start for the Indians against Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs. With the series tied at one game apiece, the Cubs now have home-field advantage for the remainder of the set, with three games in Chicago followed -- if necessary -- by Games 6 and 7 back in Cleveland. But Terry Francona announced Wednesday that ace righty and Game 1 winner Corey Kluber will start on short rest in Game 4 of the series, lining up Kluber for a potential Game 7 start as well.
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