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Indians win Game 4 for 3-1 World Series lead.
CHICAGO (AFP) – Cleveland’s Corey Kluber pitched superbly on short rest while Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana smashed home runs as the Indians moved within one victory of their first World Series title since 1948 by routing the Chicago Cubs 7-2 on Saturday.
The Indians took a 3-1 lead in Major League Baseball’s best-of-seven final and can end their title drought – while extending Chicago’s epic 107-year futility streak – by winning game five Sunday at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs, in their first World Series since 1945, are trying to end the longest title drought in American sports history by capturing their first World Series since 1908. The Indians’ 67-year title drought is the second longest in the major leagues.
Teams with a 3-1 Series edge have won the crown 10 consecutive times, last failing in 1985 when Kansas City won the final three games to defeat St. Louis.
Kipnis, a Chicago native who grew up cheering on the Cubs, blasted a three-run homer in the seventh inning that added to the misery of long-suffering Cubs fans while Santana belted a solo homer in the second inning.
Indians starting pitcher Kluber allowed only one run on five hits over six innings with six strikeouts. The 30-year-old right-hander became the first pitcher since Cincinnati’s Jose Rijo in 1990 to win games one and four of the World Series.
Kluber struck out nine and scattered four hits over six scoreless innings in Tuesday’s opener as Cleveland blanked the Cubs 6-0. He’s now 5-1 in the playoffs with a 0.74 earned-run average.
Chicago’s 38-year-old right-handed pitcher John Lackey, a two-time World Series champion, surrendered three runs on four hits over five innings in his 23rd career playoff start, the most of any active pitcher.
Chicago batters tagged Kluber early as Dexter Fowler opened the game with a double to left field and scored on Anthony Rizzo’s single to centerfield.
But Santana answered with a solo homer to lead off the second inning and two errors by Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant led to a 2-1 Cleveland lead.
Bryant’s throwing error allowed Lonnie Chisenhall to reach first base and after he advanced on Roberto Perez’s ground out and Tyler Naquin was intentionally walked, Kluber tapped an infield single down the third base line to set up another errant throw by Bryant, allowing Chisenhall to score the go-ahead run.
The Indians stretched their edge to 3-1 in the third when Kipnis doubled to the rightfield wall and Francisco Lindor singled to bring him home. It was Lindor’s sixth hit of the Series making him, at 22, the youngest player since 1997 with so many.
Lindor walked to open the sixth and advanced on a hard-hit Santana single that knocked the glove off Cubs relief pitcher Mike Montgomery. Lindor took third base on a fielder’s choice by Jose Ramirez and scored on a sacrifice fly out by Chisenhall to put Cleveland ahead 4-1.