This game was a roller coaster: it started with the first batter of the game, the Cubs' Dexter Fowler, hitting a leadoff home run. The Indians evened things up with a Carlos Santana RBI single in the third, but the Cubs answered right back with an Addison Russell sac fly and a Willson Contreras RBI double in the fourth. Javy Baez smoked a solo homer in the fifth, and Indians starter Corey Kluber's night was done. Anthony Rizzo hit an RBI single off of Andrew Miller, who looked unhittable in every other outing this postseason, and it looked like the rout was on. The Cubs fans in Wrigleyville started partying, and it felt like the air got sucked out of Progressive Field for Cleveland fans. Things started to get dicey for the Cubs in the bottom half of the fifth, when starter Kyle Hendricks allowed a man on via a walk with two outs. At this point, Cubs manager Joe Maddon made an interesting decision: to pull Hendricks in favor of Jon Lester, who started Game 5 of the series and had only two days' rest. Before the game, Maddon claimed that if Lester were to pitch, it would be at either the beginning of an inning or when there were no men on base. I'm not sure what compelled Maddon to put Lester in at that juncture, but the Cubs almost paid dearly for it.
Along with Lester came in 39 year-old catcher David Ross, who had previously announced that 2016 would be his last year in the major leagues before he retired. Ross looked like he was off his game in that inning. On the first batter Lester faced, he overthrew first base on a dribbler in front of the plate, putting men on second and third. He then allowed a passed ball and tripped over himself while chasing it, allowing both runners to score. Ross, however, would make up for it: in the next inning, he hit a line drive home run over the center field wall that swung the momentum back in the Cubs' favor, giving them a 6-3 lead. At this point, it looked like a sure thing: the Cubs would carry that lead all the way to a World Series championship. The Indians, however, had other plans. Maddon pulled Lester after 3 innings and 55 pitches, bringing in closer Aroldis Chapman, who is known for throwing pitches upward of 100 MPH. Maddon had put Chapman, who in the regular season is typically a one-inning closer, to work throughout the series, having him go 2.2 innings in Game 5 and 1.1 in Game 6. To close out this game, he would have to go 1.1 more innings. He allowed inherited runner Jose Ramirez to score on a double from Brandon Guyer, the first batter he faced. After that, center fielder Rajai Davis hit one just barely over the left field wall that tied the game at 6. At this point, the series looked like it belonged to the Indians. All of the momentum was on their side, they had home field advantage, and they had a drought of their own that they were trying to end.
At the end of the ninth inning, the teams were still tied at 6. All of a sudden, the grounds crew in Cleveland came out onto the field with the tarp due to a rain delay. At this point, everyone started to get nervous because of this tweet from a random guy in 2014:
This game was more than just a victory. This was a piece of history that unfolded right in front of us. It erased years of pain and suffering from Cubs fans. It cemented Theo Epstein as the curse breaker and arguably the greatest baseball executive of all time. It liberated Steve Bartman after years of basically being forced into hiding for a mistake that many of us would have made. It ended curses from a black cat and a billy goat. It ensured that none of the guys on this team would ever have to buy a drink on the north side of Chicago for the rest of their lives. It meant the end of a long, long wait for many fans like this man:
The only problem I have here is that the Cubs have a young core of great players, so they're going to be a hindrance when the Phillies start making World Series runs in the next few years. The NLCS between the two teams is going to be great, though.