Wednesday, November 2, 2016

World Series: Game Seven

It's been an amazing year for sports.  Alabama beat Clemson 45-40 to win the college football title.  Villanova hit a shot at the buzzer to beat UNC for the college basketball crown.  The Cavs and Warriors played one of the greatest of all NBA finals.  Coastal Carolina stunned everyone to win the College World Series.  And now we are about to wrap up a very dramatic World Series between the long-suffering Cleveland Indians and the even-longer-suffering Chicago Cubs.  After tonight, one of the best fan bases in America will finally get a trophy it has craved much longer than I've been alive.  The other will be able to hold its head up and look forward to next year.

To me, there's pretty much nothing in all of sports that's better than Game Seven of the World Series.  Baseball is always the sport where you have another day, another game, another chance.  It's always warm and the sun is shining.  But then, all of a sudden, the days have gotten very short, and the nights have gotten cold.  And when there's a Game Seven, the entire baseball world converges on one stadium.  All the ghosts, all the legends, all the history -- all waiting in the darkness to see who will join them.  And for this one game -- and for this one game only -- there truly is no tomorrow for both teams.  Only in Game Seven of the World Series can you say that.

The stakes are enormous.  It's such a long season, and baseball fans sit through so many long seasons, and it's actually quite rare for any baseball fan to see his or her team play a Game Seven in the World Series.  I've been watching baseball since 1973, and I've rooted passionately for a team every year -- and none of my teams has ever played in Game Seven of the World Series.  The Red Sox are a really successful franchise -- they haven't played in a Game Seven since 1986.  The Philadelphia Phillies -- one of the sixteen Original Franchises -- have never played in Game Seven of the World Series.  I could give many more examples -- Washington, for example, hasn't played a Game Seven since 1925.  The point, of course, is carpe diem, baseball fans, because you don't get too many chances like this one.

Here are the starting lineups, with old-school 1970's stats:

CHICAGO:
1.  Dexter Fowler, CF (.276, 13 HR, 48 RBI, 13 SB)
2.  Kyle Schwarber, DH (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI) (only had 4 regular season AB's due to injury)
3.  Kris Bryant, 3B (.292, 39 HR, 102 RBI)
4.  Anthony Rizzo, 1B (.292, 32 HR, 109 RBI)
5.  Ben Zobrist, LF (.272, 18 HR, 76 RBI)
6.  Addison Russell, SS (.238, 21 HR, 95 RBI)
7.  Willson Contreras, C (.282, 12 HR, 35 RBI) (76 games)
8.  Jason Heyward, RF (.230, 7 HR, 49 RBI)
9.  Javier Baez, 2B (.273, 14 HR, 59 RBI)
Kyle Hendricks, P (16-8, 2.13 E.R.A.)

CLEVELAND:
1.  Carlos Santana, DH (.259, 34 HR, 87 RBI)
2.  Jason Kipnis, 2B (.275, 23 HR, 82 RBI)
3.  Francisco Lindor, SS (.301, 15 HR, 78 RBI)
4.  Mike Napoli, 1B (.239, 34 HR, 101 RBI)
5.  Jose Ramirez, 3B (.312, 11 HR, 76 RBI, 22 SB)
6.  Lonnie Chisenhall, RF (.286, 8 HR, 57 RBI)
7.  Rajai Davis, CF (.249, 12 HR, 48 RBI, 43 SB)
8.  Coco Crisp, LF (.231, 13 HR, 55 RBI)
9.  Roberto Perez, C (.183, 3 HR, 17 RBI) (61 games)
Corey Kluber, P (18-9, 3.14 E.R.A.)

95 comments:

  1. Corey Kluber won Games One and Four for Cleveland, and he is trying to become the first man since Mickey Lolich in 1968 to win three games in one World Series as a starting pitcher.

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  2. But there -- right there! That man Dexter Fowler! He leads off the game with a HOME RUN!

    And what is that sound -- huge cheers for Fowler all around Jacobs Field! Lots of Cub fans in Cleveland tonight.

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  3. Miracle Man Kyle Schwarber beats out an infield single, but Kluber gets three fly outs after that. After one-half of one inning, it's the Cubs 1, the Indians coming up to bat.

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  4. I like to hear the teams' radio broadcast, but the stakes of this game make the exercise too painful. So I'm going with the excellent broadcast of ESPN's Dan Shulman and Aaron Boone.

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  5. Hard to believe that there's no more baseball until April.

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  6. On the other hand, it's hard to believe that they're still playing baseball on November 2.

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  7. Cleveland has worn navy jerseys in every game I've seen them play in the post-season. I don't know what happened to their white jerseys.

    Cubs are going with the tacky blue jerseys, as opposed to the more elegant grays.

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  8. With two out in the top of the 3d, Miracle Man Schwarber rips a blow to right. He tries to stretch it to a double, but is THROWN OUT on a great play by Lonnie Chisenhall.

    After 2 1/2 innings, Chicago leads 1-0.

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  9. But now Coco Crisp leads off the bottom of the third with a double to left, and the Indians are in business.

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  10. And now Santana has singled to right, and Crisp trots home with the tying run.

    Cleveland 1 - 1 Chicago (1 out, bottom 3d)

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  11. Kipnis grounds into what should have been a force out at second, but Baez drops the ball in an effort to make a double play. The Tribe has runners on first and second with only one out. And now the Cleveland voices are being heard all over the stadium, as Indian fans smell blood in the water.

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  12. Hendricks retires Lindor on a fly to left, so it's up to Mike Napoli with two out and two on:

    Hendricks v. Napoli:

    Pitch 1: Called strike (0-1)
    Pitch 2: Foul (0-2)
    Pitch 3: Ball outside (1-2)
    Pitch 4: Napoli hits a wicked liner, but it is caught by Bryant at third to end the inning.

    After 3:

    Cleveland 1 - 1 Chicago

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  13. Kris Bryant leads off the fourth with an opposite-field single through the Indians' shift.

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  14. And now Kluber has hit Rizzo. So the Cubs have men on first and second with no one out.

    Meanwhile, Jon Lester is warming up in the Cubs' bullpen.

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  15. Zobrist hits a grounder to first. Napoli throws to second, forcing Rizzo. The Cubs have men on first and second with one out.

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  16. And now Russell lofts a fly to shallow center field -- and Bryant tries to score! Davis throws home -- but his throw is a bit high, and Bryant slides under the tag! CUBS RE-TAKE THE LEAD on two singles, a ground out, and a fly out.

    Cleveland 1 - 2 Chicago (2 out, top 4)

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    Replies
    1. Sorry, that was a single, a hit batsman, a ground out, and a fly out.

      Delete
  17. Two balls, two strikes, two outs to Contreras -- and Contreras whacks the ball off the right-center field wall. Rizzo scores, and the Cubs now have a two-run lead.

    Cleveland 1 - 3 Chicago (2 out, top 4)

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  18. ESPN thinks Lester is going to pitch the fourth for Chicago.

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  19. Heyward pops up to end the inning. But the Indians, like the Dodgers before them, have learned that sending out your ace to face the Cubs on short rest is problematic.

    Cleveland 1 - 3 Chicago (middle 4)

    Cubs now have a 70 percent chance of victory.

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  20. Hendricks comes out to pitch the fourth. Now ESPN thinks that Lester will come out to pitch the fifth.

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  21. Dan Shulman mentions that the second-longest streak without a title belongs to Cleveland. This is not true, of course. The Tribe won the title in 1948. Our Nation's Capital hasn't won it all since 1924.

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  22. Hendricks retires the Tribe in order. After 4:

    Cleveland 1 - 3 Chicago

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  23. The Indians send Kluber back out to start the fifth, but this proves to be a mistake: Javier Baez hits his first pitch over the wall in right center field for a HOME RUN.

    That's all for Kluber, as the Indians bring in Andrew Miller. It's a sad end for Kluber, who has been magnificent in the post-season. But he just had nothing left.

    Cleveland 1 - 4 Chicago (0 out, top 5)

    Cubs now have an 85 percent chance of victory.

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  24. This series looks a lot like the N.L.C.S., where the Dodgers through 21 consecutive shut out innings to take a 2-1 lead, only to get hammered in the last three games by Chicago. So far, the Cubs have been dominant in Games Six and Seven. They wear you down, much like Theo Epstein's great Red Sox teams used to.

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  25. Fowler greets Miller with a single to left, but Schwarber appears to have hit into a double play. The Cubs ask for a review, and it was a double play.

    Cleveland 1 - 4 Chicago (2 out, top 5)

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  26. With two outs, it looked as though Miller had escaped further damage. But Bryant draws a nine-pitch walk. And then Bryant takes off early -- and Rizzo rips a shot into right. Bryant comes all the way around, and beats another throw. Rizzo goes to second.

    Zobrist flies out to end the top of the fifth. But Bryant and Rizzo look like Ruth and Gehrig in this game.

    Cleveland 1 - 5 Chicago (middle 5)

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  27. With two out in the bottom of the 5th, Hendricks walks Santana -- and thereby loses his chance to be the winning pitcher. Joe Maddon comes out, and that's all for Hendricks. Lester is coming in.

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  28. Lester does not -- and perhaps cannot -- hold runners on base. So any time he pitches, the Cubs use David Ross (a great defender) to catch. Ross comes into the game, and Contreras's season is over.

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  29. Kipnis hits a little nibbler down the third base line. Ross, trying to get him at first, THROWS THE BALL AWAY. And now, suddenly, the Tribe have runners on second and third with two out.

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  30. The Cubs have now made three errors in this game. Here comes Francisco Lindor.

    Lester v. Lindor:

    Pitch 1: Foul (0-1)
    Pitch 2: WILD PITCH! The ball bounces, and hits Ross in the mask. The ball shoots toward the Cubs dugout. SANTANA SCORES! HERE COMES KIPNIS! Ross, from his knees, throws the ball to Lester. But IT'S TOO LATE! KIPNIS SCORES! The Indians are right back in this game!

    Pitch 3: Strike (1-2)
    Pitch 4: Ball (2-2)
    Pitch 5: Ball (3-2)
    Pitch 6: Swinging Strike, and Lindor is out.

    But the Tribe get two runs on a walk, an infield single, an error, and a wild pitch. After 5:

    Cleveland 3 - 5 Chicago

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  31. Chicago had a 91 percent chance of victory when Lester and Ross came into the game. Now they have a 79 percent chance.

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  32. Old-fashioned NBC Scoreboard:

    Top of the Sixth:
    R H E
    Chicago 5 8 3
    Cleveland 3 5 0

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    Replies
    1. That doesn't look right, but you know what I was trying to do.

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  33. On ESPN, they don't understand why the Cubs went to Lester with two outs in the fifth. They thought Hendricks was pitching well despite the walk to Santana.

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  34. But now, in the top of the sixth, DAVID ROSS HOMERS TO CENTER FIELD. That is a stunning blow to the Indians, given how good Miller has been in the post-season -- and that Ross is seen primarily as a defender.

    Cleveland 3 - 6 Chicago (1 out, top 6)

    That's Chicago's third home run of the game. In the first four games of the series, they only hit one home run.

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  35. Now the Cubs have an 86 percent chance of winning.

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  36. Miller escapes the 6th with no further damage.

    Cleveland 3 - 6 Chicago (middle 6)

    The Cubs have home runs from Fowler, Baez, and Ross.

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  37. ESPN now thinks that the Cubs hope to stick with Lester until they can bring in Aroldis Chapman.

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  38. With two outs in the bottom of the 6th, the Indians send in Brandon Guyer to pinch-hit for Chisenhall. He responds by lacing a single to left.

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  39. ESPN points out that Corey Kluber and Andrew Miller have each given up more runs in this game than they did in the whole post-season before tonight.

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  40. Meanwhile, Lester retires Davis on a grounder to end the 6th. After six, the Cubs still lead 6-3.

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  41. Fowler leads off the seventh with a single, and the Cubs will soon pad their lead if the Indians leave Miller in the game.

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  42. Schwarber flies out to left, and that's all for Miller.

    Meanwhile, FOX shows us some celebrities. LeBron is there, wearing a shirt that says "CLEVELAND OR NOWHERE." Charlie Sheen is there. So is John Cusack, who really appears to be stressed out.

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  43. The Indians are going with Cody Allen, their closer. They need him to be more effective than Kluber and Miller.

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  44. By the way, this is the most-watched World Series (in terms of TV ratings) since the Red Sox won it all in 2004.

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  45. Bryant strikes out, and Fowler is thrown out trying to steal second. The strike-em-out throw-em-out double play ends the inning.

    Cleveland 3 - 6 Chicago (middle 7)

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  46. With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Roberto Perez draws a walk. Tyler Naquin comes into run.

    Now Santana hits a sharp grounder back to Lester. Lester apparently can't throw overhand (unless he's pitching), so he underhands the ball to first. Naquin advances to second.

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  47. With two outs and a man on second, it's up to Kipnis:

    Lester v. Kipnis:

    Pitch 1: Ball (1-0)
    Pitch 2: Swinging strike (1-1)
    Pitch 3: Swinging strike (1-2)
    Pitch 4: Swinging strike. That was awesome. Lester has his issues in the field, but he can really pitch.

    After 7:

    Cleveland 3 - 6 Chicago

    Now the Cubs have a 93.5 percent chance of victory.

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  48. Allen retires the Cubs without difficulty in the top of the 8th.

    Cleveland 3 - 6 Chicago (middle 8)

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  49. With two outs in the bottom of the 8th and the Cubs fans roaring, Jose Ramirez beats out an infield single. That's all for Lester. The Cubs are bringing in Aroldis Chapman.

    Cleveland 3 - 6 (2 outs, bottom 8)

    Cubs now have a 95 percent chance of victory.

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    Replies
    1. i thought Lester was surprised he was coming out.

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  50. Guyer, who replaced Chisenhall a few innings ago, whacks a two out double to right center. Ramirez, running all the way, scores from first.

    Cleveland 4 - 6 Chicago (2 outs, bottom 8)

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  51. The Cubs still have an 88 percent chance of winning.

    Now the tying run comes to the plate in the form of Rajai Davis:

    Chapman v. Davis:

    Pitch 1: Ball (1-0)
    Pitch 2: Foul (1-1)
    Pitch 3: Foul (1-2)
    Pitch 4: Ball (2-2)
    Pitch 5: Foul (2-2)
    Pitch 6: Foul (2-2)
    Pitch 7: DAVIS HOMERS DOWN THE LEFT FIELD LINE! THE GAME IS TIED! That was a line shot into the corner.

    Oh, my!

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    Replies
    1. If Cubs lose Madden will never live down his use if Chapman in game six.

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    2. Rajai Davis played for the A's.

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  52. And now COCO CRISP SINGLES TO LEFT.

    Cleveland 6 - 6 Chicago (2 outs, bottom 8)

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    Replies
    1. I still have my Coco Crisp A's T-shirt.

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  53. Yan Gomes, Cleveland's back-up catcher, and number-9 hitter, comes to the plate with the lead run on first. They are going absolutely nuts in Cleveland.

    The Cubs now has a 45 percent chance of winning.

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  54. Chapman v. Gomes:

    Pitch 1: Ball (1-0)
    Pitch 2: Ball (2-0)
    Pitch 3: Swinging strike (2-1)
    Pitch 4: Swinging strike (2-2)
    Pitch 5: Swinging strike to end the inning. But the damage has been done.

    After 8:
    Chicago 6 10 3
    Cleveland 6 10 0

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  55. OK, so the Cubs' lineup now looks like this:

    Fowler, CF (HR)
    Schwarber, DH
    Bryant, 3B
    Rizzo, 1B
    Zobrist, LF
    Russell, SS
    Ross, C (HR)
    Heyward, RF
    Baez, 2B (HR)

    Ross will lead off the 9th against Cody Allen.

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  56. By the way, both teams now have a 50 percent chance of victory.

    Also, FOX had two great shots. One was a shot of LeBron roaring with joy after Davis's home run. The other showed thousands of fans standing outside the stadium -- most of them went absolutely nuts, while a small group of Cubs fans looked very still.

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    Replies
    1. After 20 years or so of his being a big deal, I think I'm finally getting on the LeBron James bandwagon.

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  57. Allen walks Ross to lead off the 9th. And it's raining harder.

    Ross's season -- and his career -- just ended. He's pulled for Chris Coghlan, a pinch runner. In his last game, he hit a home run in the Seventh Game of the World Series.

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  58. Allen is clearly laboring. He battles Heyward for eight pitches, before Heyward -- who is struggling in an epic slump -- forces Coghlan at second.

    The Cubs have now used two catchers. I don't know who their third catcher is.

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  59. After further review, the umpires conclude that Coghlan is out and Heyward is at first. One out for the Cubs.

    That's all for Allen. The Indians bring in Brian Shaw.

    Cleveland 6 - 6 Chicago (1 out, top 9)

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  60. With a 3-1 count on Baez, Heyward breaks for second. Baez swings and misses. Yan Gomes makes a bad throw, and Heyward ends up at third.

    And that ends the season for Coco Crisp. He has a weak arm in left, so Terry Francona pulls Crisp and puts in Michael Martinez.

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  61. And on the 3-2 count, the Cubs try a SQUEEZE PLAY. But Baez bunts the ball FOUL, and he is OUT.

    Wow.

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  62. So it's up to Fowler with two outs.

    Shaw v. Fowler:

    Pitch 1: Ball (1-0)
    Pitch 2: Ball (2-0)
    Pitch 3: Fowler, who is 3 for 4 in this game, loops a tricky ball toward the middle of the infield. Lindor roams behind second base, grabs the ball, and his throw BEATS Fowler at first.

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  63. Now here's the Indians' order:

    Santana, DH
    Kipnis, 2B
    Lindor, SS
    Napoli, 1B
    Ramirez, 3B
    Guyer, LF
    Davis, CF
    Martinez, RF
    Gomes, C

    Santana to lead off the bottom of the 9th against Chapman. Now I've switched over to the Indians' radio network.

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  64. The folks on the MLB radio network were critical of the Cubs for using Chapman in their blowout win in Game 6. And after seeing Chapman tonight, I have to say that criticism was legitimate.

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    Replies
    1. in the last softball game i ever played in, i watched three strikes in the game's last at-bat. one of my teammates said on the way off the field, "well, no one can say you're not patient." it was the playoffs, and that ended the season. it was in 2005, and that church has not fielded a softball team since!

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  65. Santana flies out to left.
    Kipnis strikes out on a 3-2 count.
    Lindor flies out, and we are going to extra innings.

    That's all for me. I'm going home.

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  66. While I was in the car, they had a rain delay. And then the Cubs came up in the top of the 10th. Here's what happened:

    1. Kyle Schwarber, the miracle man, singled. He was pulled for pinch runner Albert Almora.
    2. Kris Bryant flew out to center, and Almora advanced to second.
    3. Brian Shaw intentionally walked Anthony Rizzo.
    4. Ben Zobrist DOUBLED to left, SCORING Almora and sending Rizzo to third.
    5. Shaw intentionally walked Addison Russell, loading the bases.
    6. Miguel Montero SINGLED, scoring Rizzo.

    Cleveland 6 - 8 Chicago (1 out, top 10)

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  67. At this point, with the bases still loaded, Cleveland pulled Shaw and brought in Trevor Bauer, who is normally a starter. He struck out Heyward for the second out of the inning.

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  68. Bauer retired the Cubs with no more drama.

    Heading into the bottom of the 10th:

    Cleveland 6 - 8 Chicago

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  69. The Cubs, and their 108 years of history, are now in the hands of relief pitcher Carl Edwards, Jr.

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  70. Edwards starts the 10th by striking out Mike Napoli.

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  71. Jose Ramirez grounds out to short, and the Cubs are one out away. It's up to Brandon Guyer.

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  72. The last team to lose the Seventh Game of the World Series in extra innings was . . . the Cleveland Indians, who did this in 1997.

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  73. Edwards v. Guyer:

    Pitch 1: Ball (1-0)
    Pitch 2: Ball (2-0)
    Pitch 3: Ball (3-0)
    Pitch 4: Called strike (3-1)
    Pitch 5: Ball. Guyer walks, and Rajai Davis comes to the plate with the tying run.

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  74. my wife is watching the espn app on her laptop, and it just put the cleveland baserunner on first base before the umpire called the fourth ball on tv.

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  75. Edwards v. Davis

    Pitch 1: Ball (1-0). Guyer advances to 2d on defensive indifference
    Pitch 2: Davis SINGLES TO CENTER. Guyer SCORES.

    Cleveland 7 - 8 Chicago (2 out, bottom 10)

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  76. my wife says the espn app put Davis on second base momentarily when he rounded first--but then it returned him to first. she told me all of this just before Davis's hit made it out of the infield on tv.

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  77. Remember when the Tribe pulled Coco Crisp for defensive purposes? Well, it would have been his turn to bat, but he's gone. So Michael Martinez, who batted .238 in 63 games, will come to the plate.

    Meanwhile, Joe Maddon is done with Carl Edwards, Jr. They are bringing in Mike Montgomery to get the last out.

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  78. Montgomery v. Martinez

    Pitch 1: Called strike (0-1)
    Pitch 2: Martinez hits a dribbler to Bryant. He charges, scoops, throws -- AND THE CUBS HAVE WON THE WORLD SERIES! THE CUBS ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD.

    Final score, in 10 innings:

    Chicago Cubs 8
    Cleveland Indians 7

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  79. it's great that you could see Bryant was smiling the whole way through his fielding that ball.

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  80. hooray for sports! well done, Go Heath, as always--fun reading.

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