CHICAGO — Corey Kluber allowed one run and scattered five hits over six innings as the Cleveland Indians moved to the brink of a World Series title with a 7-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
Kluber picked up his second World Series triumph since Tuesday as the Indians won their second straight at Wrigley Field and claimed a 3-1 advantage over the Cubs.READ MORE: Blaze Destroys Three Businesses At Norcross Strip Mall
Cleveland could secure its first World Series title since 1948 with a victory on Sunday.
The Indians scored twice in the second inning, added single runs in the third and sixth and put the game out of reach with a three-run seventh.
The Indians padded their lead in the sixth inning as Lonnie Chisenhall’s one-out sacrifice off reliever Mike Montgomery plated Francisco Lindor to make it 4-1.
In the seventh, Jason Kipnis clubbed a three-run homer to right off Travis Wood, the fourth Chicago pitcher of the night.
Kipnis’ third postseason home run drove in pinch hitter Coco Crisp, who had doubled, and Rajai Davis, who was hit by a Justin Grimm pitch.
Kipnis went 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored while Carlos Santana also had three hits, including a second-inning home run.
Kluber, who gave up his lone run of the series in the opening inning, threw 81 pitches before being lifted for Crisp.
Dexter Fowler trimmed the Indians’ advantage with a leadoff home run in the eighth off Cleveland reliever Andrew Miller, the first run he has allowed in 16 post-season innings.
Chicago starter John Lackey worked five innings and took the loss.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Update: Is A Fourth Relief Payment In Your Future?
The Cubs’ dormant bats came to life in the first inning as Anthony Rizzo drove in Fowler with a one-out base hit to center.
The Indians matched the run in the second on Santana’s third postseason home run, a leadoff shot to right coming on a full count.
Chisenhall then reached on Kris Bryant’s one-out throwing error and moved to second on Roberto Perez’s groundout to Lackey. He scored from second when Kluber’s grounder to Bryant was underthrown to first.
Lackey was stretched early as he threw a modest 18 first-inning pitches but 32 more in the second to hit the 50-pitch mark.
The Indians made it 3-1 as Kipnis laced a leadoff double to open the third and scored on Lindor’s full-count base hit to center.
Cubs left-handed reliever Travis Wood warmed up in the fourth while Lackey produced an eight-pitch, one-two-three inning. He had another in the fifth before being pulled for a pinch hitter.
Lackey allowed three runs on four hits, struck out five and walked one while throwing 84 pitches. Left-hander Mike Montgomery came in as replacement in the sixth.
Kluber last pitched in Tuesday’s World Series opener at Progressive Field, picking up the win over Cubs lefty Jon Lester.
Lackey was making his first 2016 World Series start and first overall since 2013 against the St. Louis Cardinals while with the Boston Red Sox.MORE NEWS: Former Georgia Board Of Regents Member Indicted On Corruption Charges
NOTES: SS Francisco Lindor came into Game 4 with the hottest bat among Cleveland regulars, hitting .357 in 11 postseason games with two homers and four RBIs. 2B Jason Kipnis and 1B Carlos Santana, meanwhile, brought up the rear with averages of .167 and .139, respectively, over the same stretch. … The Indians posted five shutout wins during the 2016 postseason entering Saturday’s game. Friday’s 1-0 victory was the 25th all-time in World Series history but just the second in the past 20 years. … Retired U.S. Supreme Court judge John Paul Stevens, 96, was in attendance Saturday. Stevens, a Chicago native, attended the 1929 World Series at Wrigley Field as the Cubs lost to the Philadelphia Athletics. … Chicago has eight games with five or more runs scored and just one run total in five other games this postseason, including four shutout losses. … RHP John Lackey, Saturday’s starter for the Cubs, has made 23 postseason starts, the most among active big-league pitchers. … Despite a .065 postseason batting average, RF Jason Heyward returned to the Cubs lineup on Saturday. … Cleveland sends RHP Trevor Bauer (0-1, .500 ERA postseason) against Chicago LHP Jon Lester (2-1, 1.69 ERA) in Sunday’s Game 5. Bauer last pitched on Wednesday while Lester started the previous night.