Indians silence Cubs, move one win from World Series title

CHICAGO -- Breaking down Game 4 of the World Series between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Indians 7, Cubs 2: Indians lead series 3-1.

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The game: The Cubs got the scoring started early off Indians starter Corey Kluber, plating a run in the bottom of the first on a leadoff double by Dexter Fowler and a single by Anthony Rizzo. But Kluber, working on three days' rest, settled in from there, holding the Cubs off the board through the end of the sixth inning. The righty allowed five hits and walked one batter while striking out six to earn the win.

Carlos Santana led off the top of the second against John Lackey with a home run that tied the game, then the Indians added another run in the inning thanks to an infield single by Kluber and a pair of throwing errors by Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant.

The Indians tacked on a run in the third and another in the sixth, then broke the game open on a three-run homer by Jason Kipnis in the seventh. Dominant setup man Andrew Miller entered in the bottom of the frame and the Indians bullpen, as it has all postseason, closed out the game. But not before Miller gave up his first run of the postseason on a Fowler home run in the eighth inning.

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Man of the moment: Kluber. The 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner continued dominating his postseason opponents, notching his second win of the World Series and his fourth in the playoffs. Kluber has allowed only three earned runs over 30 1/3 innings this postseason, good for a 0.89 ERA. He has struck out 35 batters and walked eight.

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Pivot point: The Cubs' best chance to get back in the game came in the bottom of the sixth, when Rizzo doubled to lead off the inning. But Kluber got Ben Zobrist to hit a lazy fly ball to left field, then struck out Willson Contreras and drew a soft ground ball from Addison Russell to end the threat before it started.

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Needing a mulligan: Bryant, a leading candidate for the NL MVP Award, typically plays good defense at third base. But a pair of inaccurate and perhaps ill-advised throws in the second inning contributed to the Cleveland rally that erased the Cubs' early lead and put Kluber in command.

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Manager's special: After the Indians scored their third run in the top of the third, Cubs manager Joe Maddon allowed Lackey to bat for himself in the bottom of the inning -- standard practice for a regular season game, but a moved that raised some eyebrows in a postseason dominated by creative and aggressive bullpen usage. Lackey struck out, but he did throw two scoreless innings after his plate appearance. And the middle men in the Cubs' bullpen allowed four runs across the sixth and seventh.

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What you missed on TV: The quiet. Wrigley throbbed with energy in the early innings of the game, but the volume seemed to drop with every batter Kluber retired. When Kipnis' long homer was in flight, the park was almost eerily silent.

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State of the series: The Indians now stand as the overwhelming favorites to take the title, needing only one more win to clinch with three to play. Naturally, teams have surmounted 3-1 series deficits in the past, but the Cubs would still need to face Kluber in Cleveland in Game 7 if it goes that far.

USA TODAY Sports


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