The Cubs evened the World Series as Kyle Schwarber provided a pair of RBI singles and his teammates capitalized on a series of miscues by the Indians in a 5-1 victory in Game 2.
Schwarber played only two games this season before tearing ligaments in his knee in April. Expected to miss the rest of the year, he was activated by Chicago to serve as the designated hitter for games at Cleveland in this series. Thus far, he has lived up to his billing as one of the sport's finest young hitters.
In a Game 1 defeat, he smashed a double and took a walk. A day later, he helped keep the line moving for an offense that woke up after being shut out on Tuesday.
The forecast called for rain around 10 p.m., so Major League Baseball moved up the first pitch to 7:08 p.m., an hour earlier than usual. Neither starting pitcher appeared hurried by the pending weather. Both Indians starter Trevor Bauer and Cubs starter Jake Arrieta operated at a torpid pace.
Bauer required 87 pitches to acquire 11 outs. He gave up two runs before leaving with two outs in the fourth. Arrieta did not give up a hit until his 88th pitch of the game. That pitch, however, was thrown in the sixth inning.
And, thankfully, the rain did not arrive until the bottom of the eighth inning.
Silenced for nine innings on Tuesday, the Cubs showed life in the first inning. A one-out single by third baseman Kris Bryant placed a runner aboard for first baseman Anthony Rizzo. He ripped a double into the right-field corner. Indians outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall decided to throw to second base, rather than hit the cutoff man, which allowed Bryant to sneak around third for a run.
Chicago produced another run in the third. Rizzo sparked a two-out rally with a walk, capitalizing on Bauer's inability to locate his fastball. Outfielder Ben Zobrist added a single. Bauer threw three balls in a row to Schwarber, then fed him a fastball down the middle. Schwarber roped an RBI single up the middle.
Another mistake by Chisenhall in the field contributed to a Cubs flurry in the fifth. After a walk by Rizzo, Zobrist pulled a ball into right. Chisenhall slipped and fell as he raced for the ball. Rizzo scored and Zobrist received credit for an RBI triple.
The next batter was Schwarber. He faced reliever Bryan Shaw. The Indians shifted their infielders to prevent Zobrist from scoring on a groundball. The position created a hole for Schwarber, who threaded a single up the middle for his second RBI and Chicago's fourth run.
Shaw lost his command as the inning continued. After catcher Willson Contreras reached on an error by Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis, Shaw walked outfielder Jorge Soler and shortstop Addison Russell. The free pass to Russell forced in a run.
The Indians pushed Arrieta out of the game in the sixth. Kipnis recorded his team's first hit with a double, and scored soon after on a wild pitch.