MLB 

Russell’s bat, Arrieta’s pitching help Cubs force Game 7

If you have no rooting interest in the World Series and are just a baseball fan overall, Wednesday night will be a fun and special evening.

The Cubs yet again staved off elimination in Game 6 and routed the Indians 9-2.

Now, on Wednesday night at Progressive Field, baseball fans will get to hear the two best words in all of sports; Game 7.

Chicago took an early lead in the top of the first inning and never looked back. Kris Bryant got things started with a two-out solo home run of Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin. Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist followed with singles and then Addison Russell hit a two-run double on a misplayed ball that fell between Tyler Naquin and Lonnie Chisenhall, to make the score 3-0.

The third inning proved to be the proverbial nail in the coffin.

Kyle Schwarber led off the top half of the third with a walk. After Bryant flew out, Anthony Rizzo and Zobrist connected on back-to-back singles, loading up the bases. Three pitches on a 2-0 count, Russell belted a grand slam to put the Cubs up 7-0.

Cleveland would try and fight their way back into the game in the fourth when Mike Napoli hit an RBI single, scoring Jason Kipnis. An inning later, Kipnis would hit a solo homer, to bring the score to 7-2. Unfortunately for Cleveland, the hole was too deep to dig out of.

Chicago would add on to that lead in the top of the ninth when Rizzo crushed a two-run home run to right field, scoring Bryant.

Jake Arrieta didn’t take a no-hitter into the sixth, but he did turn in another brilliant performance. The reigning NL Cy Young award winner pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing just two runs on three hits while walking three and striking out nine. The Chicago bullpen came in and got the job done down the stretch.

Mike Montgomery, Aroldis Chapman, Pedro Strop and Travis Wood combined to pitch 3 1/3 innings, giving up one run on three hits with three walks and a strikeout.

Chapman came on in the seventh and pitched 1 1/3 innings, giving up a run, a walk, a hit and striking out a batter. With the game well out of reach, Joe Maddon decided to give his flame throwing lefty some rest ahead of Game 7. Brandon Guyer drew the walk off Chapman to start the final frame and would later score on a Roberto Perez RBI single. Perez would be thrown out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double on a missile of a throw from right fielder Jason Heyward.

The Tribe couldn’t get the same production out of Tomlin as they did in Game 3. He couldn’t make it out of the third inning after he gave up six runs on six hits and a walk.

Chicago’s 3-6 hitters combined to go 11-19 with eight runs scored and nine RBIs. Bryant led the way going 4-5 with the home run and two runs scored. Russell became the youngest player with six RBIs in a postseason game in MLB history.

Cleveland finished with just six hits and 10 strikeouts.

Wednesday night will see the pitching matchup of Kyle Hendricks versus Corey Kluber, who will once again be pitching on short rest. Each team has one a pair of games on the road in this series and now it all comes down to one game to decide the champion of baseball.

The biggest key to this series will be which team can take the lead first and keep it before giving the ball over to the bullpen. Chapman has pitched quite a bit in the last three couple of games, so that could come into play. Andrew Miller has had three days of rest, Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw have both had a couple of days’ rest. That could be huge if Cleveland can get the lead.

Hey Cleveland fans, remember when you were making fun of the Golden State Warriors for blowing that 3-1 series in route to the Cavaliers win the NBA title? Karma is nothing to mess with.

No matter the outcome, one team will break a curse or a long drought. History will be made and the best part about it is that it occurs in a Game 7 for all the marbles.

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