Kyle Schwarber Returns to Form in Game Two

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Kyle Schwarber Returns

Dave McCullough recaps Game Two of the World Series in which the Chicago Cubs evened the series with excellent performances from Kyle Schwarber and Jake Arrieta.

There was no panic – yet. After a loss in Game One of the World Series, Chicago took the field behind the 2015 NL Cy Young winner, Jake Arrieta, looking to steal a game and head for home for Game Three with a chance to close out things at Wrigley. But if there was no outward anxiety, there was certainly the passing thought – down 0-2 would be worth panicking over. So Cubs fans stolidly faced up to Game Two and Indians starter (and drone enthusiastTrevor Bauer.

And the North Siders wasted little time getting off the schneid after a listless Game One – Dexter Fowler led off with a grounder back to the mound, but Bauer deftly fielded his position and proved his bloody finger wouldn’t be as big an issue on this night. Likely NL MVP Kris Bryant lashed a 2-2 pitch back through the box and Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo followed with a double to right:

Bryant chugged around the bases to score on the play, providing Chicago with a 1-0 lead. Ben Zobrist lined out sharply to center, preventing Rizzo from advancing, and Kyle Schwarber struck out to end the threat.

Arrieta also retired the leadoff man, Carlos Santana, and then struck out Jason Kipnis for the second out of the inning. But then he walked Francisco Lindor and Mike Napoli, putting two on with two outs. After a Chris Bosio visit to the mound, Arrieta buckled down and retired Jose Ramirez on a fly out to the end the threat.

Playoff MVP Javier Baez led off the second with an infield single, but then Bauer retired Willson Contreras, Jorge Soler, and Addison Russell on fly balls to the outfield. Arrieta worked a perfect bottom half of the inning, getting Lonnie Chisenhall to ground out, Coco Crisp to line out, and Tyler Naquin to strike out.

Fowler led off the top of the third with a groundout to second, and Bryant followed with a liner to Lindor at short. With two down, Rizzo worked a walk, and Zobrist stroked a single to center – advancing Rizzo to second. Then the designated hitter Schwarber punched a single to center field, scoring Zobrist and sending Rizzo to third:

With runners at the corners, Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway visited Bauer, who then induced Baez to ground out and end the inning with the Cubs ahead 2-0. Arrieta again went through the Indians 1-2-3, sitting down Game One hero Roberto Perez, Santana, and Kipnis in order.

In the top half of the fourth, Contreras led off with a walk, but a Soler ground ball went to Kipnis at second, who shoveled it to Lindor covering the bag, who relayed it to Napoli at first for the double play. Russell then singled on a line into centerfield – and Terry “Quick Hook” Francona loped out of the dugout signalling for a reliever. Zach McAllister wasted no time, striking out Fowler on three pitches to end the inning. In the bottom of the inning, Lindor struck out and Napoli flied out before Ramirez worked the two-out walk. But Chisenhall popped up, and Arrieta escaped another inning scoreless.

Bryant struck out to start the fifth, but Rizzo walked and then Zobrist delivered a triple into right field. Rizzo scampered home and the score was 3-0, Cubbies. McAllister departed, replaced by Bryan Shaw – but he couldn’t stop the bleeding. Schwarber delivered his second run-scoring single to center of the evening, plating Rizzo. Shaw then whiffed Baez, but Contreras reached on a error by Kipnis:

With Schwarber at third and Contreras at first, Soler worked a walk to load the bases. Russell then took four straight balls, forcing Schwarber to the plate and the score to 5-0. Fowler again struck out to end the inning, but the damage had been done. Arrieta recorded another spotless inning in the bottom half, sandwiching a Naquin strikeout around Crisp and Perez liners to left.

Bryant and Rizzo were retired by fresh-off-the-DL Danny Salazar to start the sixth, but Zobrist walked and so did Schwarber, putting two on with two outs. Callaway again went to the mound, and whatever he told Salazar worked, as Baez flied out to center.

Arrieta got Santana to fly out to left to open the bottom of the frame, then Kipnis doubled, causin the the Progressive Field crowd to stir. Lindor’s soft grounder to second moved the runner to third with two outs. Napoli then delivered a run-scoring single into left, cutting the deficit to 5-1. That brought Cubs manager Joe Maddon to the mound, and he summoned lefty Mike Montgomery, who forced Ramirez into an inning-ending groundout.

Jeff Manship took over in the top of the seventh, and walked the leadoff man, Contreras. Jason Heyward, who replaced Soler in right earlier in the game, lined out to center, and Russell hit what could have been a double play ball – but Kipnis booted it:

With Contreras at second and Russell at first, Fowler singled to load the bases. Francona went to his bullpen again and brought on Dan Otero to face Bryant with one out and the sacks full. The reliever induced the Cubs third baseman to ground to his counterpart, and Ramirez cut down the lead runner at the plate for the second out. Otero then forced Rizzo to line out to left, ending the threat and holding the score 5-1 at the seventh inning stretch.

After pinch hitter Rajai Davis and Crisp both struck out, Brandon Guyer stroked a single to center, giving the Indians hope. Perez then walked, which again brought Bosio out for a visit. Montgomery finished the inning with a swinging strikeout of Santana.

The Cubs went down in order in the eighth, with Zobrist and Baez grounders to short sandwiching a Schwarber K. In the bottom of the frame Kipnis failed to atone for his shaky defense by striking out, and Lindor grounded out to third. A Napoli single had Maddon again waving for the bullpen, this time bringing closer Aroldis Chapman into the game. The fireballer then blew Ramirez away with high heat.

Mike Clevinger notched a perfect ninth, getting Contreras and Russell to line out, while Heyward struck out swinging for the second out of the inning. In the bottom of the final frame, Davis struck out again, and Crisp grounded out before Guyer was able to work the two-out walk. However, a comeback was not to be: Perez grounded out to end the game.

The Cubs were victorious 5-1, behind the contributions of Zobrist, Schwarber, and Rizzo – as well as the stellar pitching of Arrieta, Montgomery, and Chapman. The series, now tied 1-1, shifts to Chicago for Game Three, where Josh Tomlin for Cleveland will oppose Kyle Hendricks for Chicago.


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