At Last: Cubs win first World Series since 1908 with 10-inning, Game 7 victory

Cubs defeat Cleveland Indians in Game 7 thriller


As the late Harry Caray might have said, "It might be ... It could be ... IT IS!"

After blowing a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning and enduring a 17-minute rain delay after the ninth, the Chicago Cubs scored two runs in the top of the 10th and held on to defeat the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in Game 7 of the World Series to win the franchise's first title since 1908. 

As third baseman Kris Bryant threw out pinch-hitter Michael Martinez on a soft ground ball, Cubs fans at Progressive Field in Cleveland, outside Wrigley Field in Chicago and around the world celebrated a championship 108 years (or 39,466 days) in the making. Blue-clad Cubs fans filled nearly the entire lower deck behind the Chicago dugout, singing "Go Cubs Go!"

"It happened. It happened. Chicago, it happened," said first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who caught the final out and tucked the ball into his back pocket before joining the celebration. "We did it. We're world champions. I tell ya, we're world champions. I can't believe it."

The Cubs' historic 10th-inning rally started with a single by Kyle Schwarber, who played in all of two regular-season games. Pinch-runner Albert Almora Jr. took Schwarber's place at first and advanced to second on a deep fly ball by Bryant. The Indians then opted to walk Rizzo to set up a potential double play.

The move backfired when World Series MVP Ben Zobrist lined a double into the left-field corner, scoring Almora to give the Cubs a 7-6 lead. Miguel Montero, the Cubs' third catcher of the game, followed with a single of his own that scored Rizzo.

Carl Edwards Jr. retired the first two batters in the bottom of the 10th before walking Brandon Guyer, who advanced to second on defensive indifference. Rajai Davis followed with an RBI single to make the score 8-7 and Cubs manager Joe Maddon lifted Edwards for left-hander Mike Montgomery, who recorded the final out of a generations-long odyssey.  

The Cubs were four outs away from the promised land in the bottom of the eighth. But after ace-turned-reliver Jon Lester surrendered an infield single to Jose Ramirez, Guyer lined an RBI double off closer Aroldis Chapman. Davis then fouled off a tough 2-2 pitch before lining a two-run, game-tying home run over the left field wall.

Cleveland was trying to win its first crown since 1948, but lost the last two games at home as the Cubs became the first club to overcome a 3-1 Series deficit since the 1985 Kansas City Royals.

The Indians sent former Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to the mound to try and become the first pitcher to win Games 1, 4 and 7 of a World Series since Bob Gibson in 1967.

But Dexter Fowler hit Kluber's fourth pitch of the game out of the park, and Kluber departed after giving up a solo home run to Javier Baez to lead off the top of the fifth inning that made the score 4-1, Cubs. 

Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks went 4 2/3 innings before turning the game over to Lester with the Cubs leading 5-1 and two men out in the bottom of the fifth.

Lester pitched three more innings, the only blemish on his card a bizarre wild pitch that allowed two Cleveland runners to score as the ball bounced away from a temporarily stunned David Ross. That made the score 5-3 after five innings, but Ross added a run to the Cubs' advantage with a solo home run to center field in the top of the sixth.

The 6-3 scoreline appeared that it would hold up. Until, that is, the Indians rallied off Lester and Chapman in the bottom of the eighth.  

Despite blowing the lead, Chapman wound up with the win. Montgomery recorded his first save in the majors by getting the final out.

Bryan Shaw, who was charged with both runs the Cubs scored in the 10th, took the loss.

It was just the fourth time that a Game 7 went to extra innings, and the rain delayed play until 12:11 a.m. in a still-packed ballpark.

Twenty-one other teams had won the World Series since Cubs last were champions. At the time, Theodore Roosevelt was president, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii were not yet states, and the first Ford Model T car was two weeks old.

The Cubs were last champions when Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance won consecutive titles in 1907-08, until now the only ones in team history. The Cubbies had not even reached the Series since 1945.

This one was for Ernie Banks, Ferguson Jenkins, Ron Santo and Billy Williams, who never reached the postseason.

For Gabby Hartnett, Ryne Sandberg and Greg Maddux, whose October runs fell short.

For Lee Elia and the "nickle-dime people" who spent so many wind-swept afternoons in the Friendly Confines watching loss after loss.

For Bill Veeck, who planted ivy vines against Wrigley Field's outfield walls.

For William Sianis, the Billy Goat Tavern owner said to have proclaimed when he was asked to leave Wrigley with his pet during the `45 Series: "Them Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more."

For Steve Bartman, whose life was upended when he tried to catch a foul ball as the Cubs came apart in the 2003 playoffs.

And for Caray, who promised WGN viewers after the 1991 season finale that "sure as God made green apples, someday the Chicago Cubs are going to be in the World Series."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.