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Chicago Cubs’ resiliency keeps them in World Series with Game 5 victory

Credit: Tannen Maury/EPA

Credit: Tannen Maury/EPA

Resiliency has defined the Chicago Cubs throughout 2016, and it’s what kept them alive on Sunday night as they faced elimination against the Cleveland Indians.

Game 5 proved that the Cubs weren’t going to back away from the pressure, and allow the Billy Goat curse to continue having its hold over the organization. Instead, the Cubs came away with a gruelling 3-2 victory led by Aroldis Chapman, after getting blown out, 7-2, just a day earlier.

The Cubs walked away with their first World Series win at Wrigley Field since 1945, while also cutting down the Indians’ 3-1 series lead. Their task to come back from such a big deficit is still an uphill climb, especially with them having to go back to Cleveland if they want to win that elusive Championship for the first time since 1908.

Heading into Game 5, there was reason to feel doubt in the city of Chicago; knowing only 4 teams in the history of the MLB have ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the World Series. The last team being the 1985 Kansas City Royals, joining the 1968 Detroit Tigers, 1958 New York Yankees and the 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates.

Despite that doubt, there seemed to be a slight shread of luck in the air for the Cubs, when Anthony Rizzo was able to recover a bobbled catch by David Ross in the 2nd inning. It gave the Cubs their 2nd out, but it still wasn’t enough.

That luck faded instantly, with Jose Ramirez up next in the batter’s box for the Indians. After a single strike from ace Jon Lester, Ramirez was able to drill a solo home run to left field and put the Indians up 1-0. Cleveland hadn’t loss a game the entire playoffs after holding a lead, and it didn’t look like they were planning on developing any bad habits in late-October.

The Cubs’ resiliency was all that could keep them from the brink of elimination, and that’s exactly what happened. They had won Game 2 of the World Series against pitcher Trevor Bauer, and with him being on the mound once again – they knew they had to wait for their moment to strike.

Game 2 also marked the last time the Cubs won, and it was Bryant that got them going with a single in the 1st inning against Bauer. That was his last hit in the series, until Sunday night. The Cubs’ leader in home runs throughout the regular season, came up clutch for his squad in the bottom of the 4th inning; smacking a solo home run to tie up the game at 1.

Bryant’s homer sparked his ball club, with the Cubs going on to load the bases on their way to a pair of runs from Rizzo and Ben Zobrist in the 4th inning. Their 3-1 lead amplified Wrigley Field with energy, and had provided them with enough momentum even after Rajai Davis came in for a run in the 6th inning; cutting the Cubs’ lead to 3-2.

To keep the Cubs lead intact, manager Joe Maddon put faith in closer Aroldis Chapman with only an out in the 7th inning. The last time Chapman made such an early appearance before the 8th inning was during the 2010 NLCS, a game that he lost as part of the Cincinnati Reds.

Instead of allowing history to creep up on the back of his neck, Chapman came out on fire to deliver an 8-out save; the longest of his career. It wasn’t the smoothest ride, but Chapman was able to keep the Cubs lead in tact, even through a 20-pitch 8th inning with a runner on 3rd.

With the 3-2 win, the Cubs hang on to continue their fight towards a Commissioner’s Trophy. Of the 4 teams that have completed 3-1 World Series comebacks, the Yankees and Pirates were the only teams to win their final 2 games on the road.

The Cubs will be looking to become the 3rd team, when they take on the Cleveland Indians in Game 6 at Progressive Field with the first pitch scheduled for 8:08 p.m. EST.

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You can follow Bryan Meler on Twitter @BryanMelo97


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