CHICAGO — The first World Series game played at Wrigley Field in 71 years ended with the same result as the last one:
A Cubs loss.
And suddenly the favored Cubs again find themselves on their heels after a 1-0 loss to the Indians on Friday night in Game 3 of the World Series in front of a shoe-horned-in crowd of 41,703, many of whom swarmed the streets surrounding this ancient neighborhood ballpark in the early-morning hours.
Pinch hitter Coco Crisp singled home the only run of the game in the seventh inning, and Indians closer Cody Allen struck out Javier Baez with runners at second and third to end it.
“We made it interesting in the ninth,” said Anthony Rizzo, who opened the final inning with a single. “Really thought we were going to come through there and we just didn’t.”
Instead, the Cubs were shut out for the second time this series and for the fourth time this postseason. They were shut out in consecutive games against the Dodgers in the NLCS to fall behind 2-1 but won three straight to advance to the World Series for the first time since 1945 (when they lost to the Tigers in seven games).
“I don’t think anybody’s going to hang their head after today,” Ben Zobrist said. “We’re still in good position. We came back and won three in a row last series. We knew were going to have to beat Kluber anyways.”
That would be Corey Kluber, who shut out the Cubs for six innings in Game 1 and will go on short rest in Game 4, a potential series tipping point.
“He’s coming off three days’ rest, so I’m just throwing it out there: He’s not going to be as sharp as he was in the first game,” Rizzo said, cracking a smile. “I’m convincing myself [he won’t be].”
The Indians in many ways won despite themselves. They went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position, stranded seven, made two blunders on the bases, committed a miscue in rightfield that led to a triple and added a ninth-inning error that kept the Cubs alive.
But great pitching often masks a variety of sins. Cleveland received a solid, if not spectacular, outing from soft-tossing righthander Josh Tomlin, a fly-ball pitcher who allowed 36 homers in 174 innings in the regular season. On a night in which the wind blew steadily out to left-center, he kept the ball in the ballpark in his 4 2⁄3 innings, allowing two hits and one walk.
“Really, I think it came down to the way Tomlin pitched,” said Cubs righthander Kyle Hendricks, who pitched in and out of trouble in his 4 1⁄3 shutout innings. “It was fun to watch, really, as a pitcher, watching a guy pitch like that, the pitchability he has. He hit all his spots.”
As he did in ALDS Game 1 against Boston, Cleveland manager Terry Francona went to stud lefthander Andrew Miller in the fifth, this time with a runner on second and two outs. Miller induced a lineout off the bat of lefthanded-hitting Miguel Montero, who was batting for reliever Justin Grimm, then struck out the side in the sixth. That gave him 27 strikeouts in 15 innings this postseason.
Bryan Shaw allowed two hits in 1 2⁄3 innings and Allen went 1 1⁄3 innings for the save.
Hendricks exited with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth, but Grimm got Francisco Lindor to bounce into a double play to keep the game scoreless.
Crisp put the Indians on the board with one out in the seventh with a broken-bat single off Carl Edwards Jr.
“Our staff made it hold up, which was a remarkable effort because, boy, I tell you what, to hold that lineup down like that . . . ,” Francona said, trailing off. “And we made some mistakes and still held them down. That’s a heck of a win.”