The Cleveland Indians set a major-league record with their fifth shutout this postseason, holding off the Chicago Cubs 1-0 Friday night for a 2-1 lead in the World Series.
CHICAGO — Cody Allen, Andrew Miller and the Cleveland Indians’ nasty bullpen shut down a Wrigley Field party 71 years in the making.
Allen escaped a ninth-inning jam and the Indians set a major-league record with their fifth shutout this postseason, holding off the Chicago Cubs 1-0 Friday night for a 2-1 lead in the World Series.
The crowd began forming beyond the ivy-covered walls in the early morning, all revved up for the first Series game at Wrigley since 1945.
Fans were roaring after a two-out error by first baseman Mike Napoli helped Chicago put runners on second and third in the ninth. Allen silenced the neighborhood ballpark, striking out co-NL Championship Series MVP Javier Baez to end it.
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“We know we’re going to have our hands full to beat these guys, and tonight was a good example,” manager Terry Francona said. “I mean, that was as close a ballgame as you’re ever going to find, and we found a way to manage to win that game.”
Pinch-hitter Coco Crisp hit an RBI single in the seventh off Carl Edwards Jr. And that was all Cleveland needed.
Indians starter Josh Tomlin went 42/3 innings with his dad, Jerry, watching from the stands in a wheelchair just two months after circulatory malformation left him paralyzed from the chest down. Miller, Bryan Shaw and Allen took over.
The Cubs have been blanked four times in the last eight games this postseason. Their first 1-0 loss in the World Series since Babe Ruth and the Boston Red Sox beat them in 1918 came on a night when the wind was blowing out.
“I actually told Miller we were going to win 1-0 tonight,” Napoli said. “Everything you saw on the TV was the wind was blowing out and there’s going to be a bunch of runs scored. … I turned to him and was like, ‘We’re going to win 1-0 tonight.’ ”
Cleveland now has a chance to take a commanding 3-1 lead with ace Corey Kluber starting Game 4 on short rest Saturday and coming off a dominant performance in the opener. John Lackey pitches for Chicago.
Not since they dropped Game 7 against Detroit in 1945 had the Cubs hosted a World Series game. The last time they won one at home? That was two days earlier when they beat the Tigers in 12 innings.
Decades of disappointment and curses gave way to a major-league-leading 103 wins and hope for the Cubs that their first championship since 1908 is on the way.
But just as they did against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS, they will have to rally from a 2-1 deficit.
“We have seen good pitching,” manager Joe Maddon said. “The one component of our team that’s going to blossom over the next couple years is the offensive side. I think what you’re seeing on defense and arm strengths and baserunning abilities, that’s going to be pretty much static. But the part that’s going to keep getting better is what we’re doing at the plate. So this is a great experience for us.”
Miller got the final out for Tomlin in the fifth, stranding a runner at second. The ALCS MVP then struck out Dexter Fowler, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo in the sixth.
Shaw worked the seventh and exited after Fowler singled with two outs in the eighth. Allen fanned Bryant to end the inning.
Rizzo opened the ninth with a single and took second on a one-out grounder. Jason Heyward followed with a grounder that Napoli misplayed, but at least the big guy kept the ball in front of him and kept the tying run from scoring.
Heyward stole second without a throw before Allen fanned Baez for this sixth save this postseason.
Two more wins and the Indians will claim their first championship since 1948. The Cubs still need three more for their first crown in 108 years.
“It’s just good chemistry over here, and our guys kept their poise,” Crisp said. “Our pitching did a great job, their pitching did a great job over there, and that’s what type of series this is going to be, it seems like.”
It was quite a scene in and around the ballpark, one generations of long-suffering Cubs fans had never witnessed.
They started flooding the streets surrounding Wrigley hours before the gates opened. By mid-afternoon, the blocks outside the 102-year-old ballpark were a sea of blue.
Fans carried “W” signs and took selfies near the famed marquee and statues of the late Harry Caray, Ernie Banks and Ron Santo, cherished figures in Cubs lore who would have loved nothing more than to be part of this.
There were red roses near the feet of all three. There were also four green apples on Caray’s statue — three on top of the base and one in his left hand — in a fitting tribute. After all, the famed broadcaster promised after the final game in 1991: “Sure as God made green apples, someday, the Chicago Cubs are going to be in the World Series — and maybe sooner than we think.”
• Winning the Roberto Clemente Award meant a lot to Curtis Granderson. Accepting the honor in front of his parents in his hometown made the moment even sweeter for the New York Mets outfielder.
Granderson received baseball’s biggest honor for sportsmanship and community involvement before Game 3 of the World Series at Wrigley Field. Granderson is from the Chicago suburb of Blue Island and played college ball at the University of Illinois-Chicago.