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Cubs end 108-year World Series title drought

2016-11-03 08:50
Baseball (Long Island Baseball Association)

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Chicago - Ending America's longest sports title drought in dramatic fashion, the Chicago Cubs captured their first World Series since 1908 by defeating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in a 10-innings thriller that concluded on Thursday morning.

The Cubs took Major League Baseball's best-of-seven final 4-3, ending what had been an iconic 107-year run of failure, frustration and futility.

But the historic victory came only after Chicago squandered a four-run lead and looked ready several times for another heartbreaking stumble.

"This trumps everything. I am so happy," Cubs slugger Kris Bryant said. "That's one of the best games anyone will ever see."

Ben Zobrist doubled in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning and Miguel Montero added a bases-loaded single for an 8-6 Cubs lead after teams endured a 17-minute rain delay following a 6-6 deadlock in regulation play.

"It's unbelievable," said Zobrist, who was named the Most Valuable Player. "Most teams would have folded after we lost that lead.

"I can't believe after 108 years we're able to hoist the trophy."

One out from victory, with Cubs fans chanting "We're number one," Cleveland's Brandon Guyer walked and Rajai Davis, who homered to equalize in the eighth, singled to pull the Indians within the final margin.

But Michael Martinez grounded out to third to end Cleveland's final threat and a roar erupted from Cubs fans as players began to celebrate.

"We got it done. That's all that matters. It doesn't matter how," Cubs pitcher Jon Lester said. "It's all surreal. I don't have the words to describe how I feel right now."

After more than a century - 39 466 days - and a final game of gut-wrenching tension, the Cubs were once again World Series champions. Thousands stayed after the game to cheer and sing "Let's Go Cubbies," even after heavy rains returned to soak them.

Dexter Fowler, Javier Baez and David Ross blasted solo home runs and Bryant scored twice as the Cubs, long known as lovable losers and even considered cursed, became the first team since 1985 to rally from a 3-1 Series deficit to win the title - the first club since 1979 to do it by taking the last two games on the road. "This is best feeling in the world," Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. "Lot of people had written us off this series and last series. For us to come back from 3-1 and finish this off in extra innings (was amazing). We are world champions for the rest of our lives."

The Cubs, who had not been to the World Series since 1945, claimed their third crown overall after 1907 and 1908. They had dropped seven consecutive World Series appearances from 1910 to 1945.

Heartache grew for supporters of the Indians, who last won the World Series in 1948. Their wait now becomes baseball's longest title drought.

"That was an incredible game to be a part of," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It's going to hurt. It hurts because we care. But they need to walk with their head held high because they tried until there was nothing left."

The Cubs led 6-3 and were four outs from victory when ace closing reliever Aroldis Chapman surrendered a run-scoring double to Guyer and a two-run homer to Davis that equalized at 6-6.

"We never quit," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Everything was going perfectly until Davis hit that home run. Then we had to go to plan B, C, D."

Cleveland's Corey Kluber, who won the opener and game four, lacked the mystifying array of throws he dazzled Cubs batters with before and paid the price quickly.

A "Let's Go Cubs" chant from thousands of Chicago fans among 38,104 spectators barely died down when Dexter Fowler, hitting only .160 over six Series games, blasted a leadoff home run over the center field wall, becoming the first leadoff batter to homer in a World Series seventh game.

Cleveland equalized in the third on a run-scoring single by Rizzo, but the Cubs answered in the fourth on Addison Russell's sacrifice fly and Willson Contreras added a run-scoring double. Baez added a homer and Rizzo a run-scoring single for a 5-1 Cubs lead.

A wild pitch by Lester in the fifth allowed two Cleveland runs to score but Ross added a solo homer, setting up Cleveland's rally in the eighth.

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