Cubs survive, force Game 6 of World Series

CHICAGO -- Breaking down Game 5 of the World Series between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Cubs 3, Indians 2: Indians lead series 3-2.

The game: The Indians struck first against Cubs starter Jon Lester, taking an early lead on a solo homer in the top of the second by third baseman Jose Ramirez.

Trevor Bauer started strong for Cleveland, but came unwound in the bottom of the fourth. Kris Bryant led off the frame with a solo homer, then Anthony Rizzo doubled off the wall in right field to kick off a rally that would plate two more runs.

Cleveland got a run back in the top of the sixth off Lester, with Rajai Davis singling and taking advantage of Lester's well-documented struggles holding runners on to steal second and take an aggressive lead toward third that allowed him to score on an ensuing single by Francisco Lindor.

Carl Edwards Jr. relieved Lester in the seventh, but when Mike Napoli reached second base with one out, manager Joe Maddon called on closer Aroldis Chapman, who pitched the Cubs through the eighth.

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Man of the moment: Bryant enjoyed an MVP-caliber regular season and helped power the Cubs through the NLDS and NLCS rounds, but Indians pitching largely neutralized the slugger through the first four games of the World Series. Bryant's homer off Bauer in the fourth not only kicked off the decisive inning, but served as a welcome reminder of the Cubs' power potential.

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Pivot point: Like many Cubs hitters, Javier Baez entered Game 5 struggling in the World Series, mustering only two singles in 17 at bats in the first four contests. So with one out and runners on first and second in the fourth, Baez laid down a bunt toward third and beat it out for a single, loading the bases to set up the David Ross sac fly that plated the third Chicago run of the inning.

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Needing a mulligan: With one out in the eighth and the Cubs leading, 3-2, Davis ripped a grounder down the first-base line that Rizzo grabbed on a brilliant diving stop behind the bag. But Chapman failed to cover first on the play, allowing the speedy Davis to reach safely with a single to put the tying run on base. Davis stole second a couple of pitches later, and took third uncontested with two outs in the inning. Chapman struck out Lindor to end the frame, but not before a whole lot of high-stress pitches.

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Manager's special: Earlier in the series, Maddon explained to reporters that despite the effectiveness of Andrew Miller for the Indians in middle innings, he did not expect to use Chapman in a similar fashion due to Chapman's warmup routine. But with the tying run on second in the top of the seventh, Maddon went to the fireballing Cuban lefty. Chapman struck out Jose Ramirez, hit Brandon Guyer with a pitch, then got Roberto Perez to bounce an easy grounder to Baez for the third out of the seventh, then worked his way through the eighth.

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What you missed on TV: A Cubs fan in a Hee Seop Choi jersey meandering his way through Wrigley's concourses. The combination of the Cubs' consistency in jersey design and their long history of misery means all sorts of short-lived and ill-fated Cubs get represented in jersey form at the World Series. An enterprising fan could even create a bingo card of disappointing Cubs players and fill it out by game's end. Garciaparra? That's the center square. Bingo!

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State of the series: The teams will take a day off Monday to travel to Cleveland for Game 6 of the series on Tuesday starting at 8:08 p.m. ET. Jake Arrieta will be on the mound for the Cubs against Josh Tomlin for Cleveland as the Indians look to wrap up the Fall Classic before a potential Game 7 on Wednesday.


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