As we continue our “10 Greatest Games of All Time” list, we have made multiple stops. Whether it be pitching feats, great hitting, or edge-of-your seat games, we’ve had it. It is now time for the Top Five. Our next stop takes us to Cleveland for Game Seven of the 2016 World Series.
5. 2016 World Series, Game Seven: Cleveland Indians vs Chicago Cubs
Both franchises coming into this game knew it was a big one. The Chicago Cubs, who had been lights-out all year, were tied three games apiece with the Cleveland Indians. The Cubs were riding a 108-year-old championship drought. The Indians came into this game with 68 years of despair. In this magical game, the Indians sent ace Corey Kluber to the mound to face Chicago’s Kyle Hendricks.
To give a little background, the last Cubs win in the Fall Classic had been in 1908. Since then, they endured a myriad of setbacks, including a Goat Curse, a black cat, Bill Buckner’s batting glove, and so on. The Indians, however, played in one of the most tortured cities in sports history. Cleveland hadn’t won a World Series since 1948, and the city hadn’t won in any pro sport since 1964. The Cubs were looking to shed their “Loveable Losers” nickname while the Indians were trying to follow up the Cavaliers, who won the NBA title in June of 2016.
Start the Game with a Bang
The two best words in sports, “Game Seven,” mean anything can happen. As the Indians took the field, the crowd was raucous. As loud as they were, though, Dexter Fowler immediately dampened the mood with a solo homerun off Kluber to give the Cubs a 1-0 advantage. From there, it slowed just a little, with an Indians threat in the second being thwarted. In the third inning, Carlos Santana tied the game at one, getting the crowd right back into it.
In the top half of the next inning, the Cubbies answered the bell again. Addison Russell drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, and that was followed by another run scoring on a Wilson Contreras double. The Cubs led, 3-1. After the Indians failed to score, Javier Baez added to the lead with a solo homer. That chased Kluber from the game, having given up four earned runs in four innings. Andrew Miller came on in relief and immediately surrendered a single, a walk, and a base hit to make it 5-1.
What Did We Just See?
The Indians, coming into the bottom of the fifth, desperately needed to start a rally. After getting the first two outs, but also walking Santana, Joe Maddon gave Hendricks the hook. He finished his night with 4 2/3 innings pitched while only giving up one earned run. Maddon opted for Jon Lester and also replaced Contreras with David Ross, Lester’s personal catcher. After a Jason Kipnis single that resulted in an error, we witnessed one of the most bizarre moments in World Series history.
With Santana on third and Kipnis at second because of the error, Lester uncorked a wild pitch. The pitch was so wild, in fact, that it hit Ross in the facemask and ricocheted all the way to the first base dugout. Santana easily scored. Since Ross couldn’t locate the baseball, Kipnis took advantage and scored all the way from second base. This made the score 5-3 and got the crowd going again.
Time for Some More Magic!
After that disaster of an inning ended, David Ross led off the top of the sixth. In this, his final Major League game, Ross took Miller out the front door for a solo homer that once again took the wind out of the Indian faithful. With the Cubs up 6-3, the game went quiet for the next couple of innings.
Fast-forward to the bottom of the eighth. Lester succeeded in getting the first two outs but then gave up a single to Jose Ramirez. Maddon once again made a move to his bullpen, this time signaling for “The Cuban Missile” Aroldis Chapman. While Indians fans held their breath, Brandon Guyer came through with a double into the gap that scored Ramirez. That cut the deficit to only two and brought up Rajai Davis. On a 2-2 count, Davis laced a 101 mph fastball down the left field line and into the camera well for a game-tying home run. Cue the pandemonium.
Free Baseball…and a Rain Delay for Good Measure
After tying the game and failing to score in the bottom of the ninth, this crazy Game Seven moved into extra innings. Before that could happen though, the light drizzle that had started became heavier, forcing the grounds crew to bring out the tarp. This dramatic game then endured a 17-minute rain delay.
After the delay, Bryan Shaw, who’d pitched in the ninth inning, came back out for Cleveland. Kyle Schwarber immediately singled. After a deep flyout allowed Albert Almora, the pinch runner, to tag up and reach second, Shaw intentionally walked Anthony Rizzo. Then, on a 1-2 count, Ben Zobrist squeezed the third base line for an RBI double to put the Cubs up 7-6. After another intentional walk, Miguel Montero singled to make it 8-6, and the Indians now had work to do.
The Curse is Broken
After Trevor Bauer retired the final two batters of the top of the 10th, the Indians needed more magic. Carl Edwards Jr. was brought in to finish it out for the Cubbies — or so we thought. After he retired the first two batters, the comeback engine roared to life once more for Cleveland with a walk of Guyer. After a steal of second base, Rajai Davis once again drove in a run with a single to cut it to 8-7.
Mike Montgomery was brought in to relieve Edwards and face Michael Martinez. On an 0-1 count, Martinez chopped the ball to third base, the charging Kris Bryant scooped it up, and the smile on his face said it all. He fired it to first base to end the game and finally end the Cubs’ 108-year drought, 8-7, in 10 magnificent, thrilling innings. The 2016 World Series belonged to the Chicago Cubs.
Joe Buck had the call on the final play, which you can relive in the video below. The 2016 World Series is one of the best all-time, if not the best. The Cubs and Indians both had endured long droughts to get to that moment, and in the end, the oldest curse came out on top. With that being said, this was Number Five on the list but Number One in every Cubs fan’s heart.
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