Plus other fascinating facts and figures from World Series Game 3
By Matt Kelly, Manny Randhawa and Andrew Simon
The Indians surged ahead to a 2-1 lead in this year's World Series, riding another dominant performance from their pitching staff and a pinch-hit go-ahead single by Coco Crisp in the seventh to score a 1-0 victory over the Cubs in Game 3 at Wrigley Field.
The talk coming into Friday's game centered around the first World Series game at Wrigley Field in 71 years, but a brilliant start by Josh Tomlin and yet another shutdown performance by the Cleveland bullpen have given the Indians a serious leg up.
Since the Fall Classic moved to a 2-3-2 format in 1925 (with two exceptions during World War II), the winner of Game 3 after a 1-1 split has gone on to win the Series 30 of 43 times. Furthermore, teams that have won Game 3 on the road after a split at home (as the Indians did Friday) have gone on to claim the title 14 out of 20 times.
Cleveland's advantage appears even more profound, considering that ace Corey Kluber will be back on the mound for Game 4. But before these two teams return for another round at the Friendly Confines, here are some things you should know about the Indians' Game 3 victory:
By the slimmest of margins
• Friday night's affair was only the 25th World Series game to end with a final score of 1-0. The Indians are now 2-2 in 1-0 World Series contests, while the Cubs are 1-2. Chicago's only other 1-0 loss came in Game 1 of the 1918 Fall Classic, when it was shut out by a Boston pitcher named Babe Ruth.
• It was the first World Series game to end with a score of 1-0 since the White Sox edged the Astros in Game 4 of the 2005 World Series, thanks to an RBI single by Jermaine Dye in the top of the eighth. That victory sealed the White Sox's first championship in 88 years.
• Crisp's tie-breaking single in the top of the seventh was only the second go-ahead RBI hit by an Indians player in the seventh inning or later in a World Series game. The other was Eddie Murray's walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th inning to beat the Braves in Game 3 of the 1995 Fall Classic.
• Crisp is also the first Indians player to record that go-ahead RBI in the seventh inning or later as a pinch-hitter in the World Series. The last pinch-hitter on any team to do so was the Royals' Christian Colon in the decisive Game 5 of last year's World Series.
• Cleveland's win marked only the ninth time a team has won a World Series game with only one run and no extra-base hits. The last team to accomplish such a feat was the Red Sox in Game 1 of the 1986 World Series against the Mets.
• The Indians are now the first team in baseball history to record five shutouts in a single postseason. The previous record was four, held by four teams who all went on to win the World Series (1905 Giants, 1998 Yankees, 2010 and 2012 Giants).
• The Cubs had their chances all night, but could not convert, finishing 0-for-14 with runners on base.
• In a sign of the times, Game 3 was the first contest in World Series history to feature two starting pitchers who lasted less than five innings without allowing a run. Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks was lifted after 4 1/3 innings after loading the bases, but Justin Grimm induced the double play to extinguish the Indians' threat. Tomlin went 4 2/3 innings and left with a runner on second before Andrew Miller came in to retire Miguel Montero.
• In fact, Friday's game marked only the second contest in MLB postseason history in which neither starting pitchers allowed a run, but lasted five innings or less. The other instance came in Game 4 of the 2001 ALCS, when the Mariners' Paul Abbott and the Yankees' Roger Clemens traded zeros for five frames before leaving the game.
• The double play the Cubs turned on a Francisco Lindor ground ball to erase a bases-loaded threat in the fifth inning was the first Grimm had induced in 73 games this season, including the playoffs. It also was the first double play he had ever gotten with the bases loaded.
• Cleveland's Miller picked up Friday right where he left off in Game 1, tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief. In doing so, Miller set a record for most scoreless innings by a reliever to begin a single postseason. The left-hander is up to 15 shutout frames, passing the run of 14 1/3 innings set by Hall of Famer Goose Gossage for the Yankees during the 1981 postseason.
• Miller has thrown 23 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to begin his postseason career, which ranks second among relievers in baseball history. Only Jonathan Papelbon, who tossed 26 straight scoreless frames before finally allowing runs in the 2009 ALDS, holds a longer streak.
• Miller is not only keeping opponents off the scoreboard; he's striking them out in record fashion, too. He tallied three more strikeouts Friday night, and stands just one punchout shy of Francisco Rodriguez's all-time record of 28 strikeouts by a reliever in one postseason, set as a rookie with the Angels in 2002.
• A combination of Tomlin, Miller, Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen helped the Indians tie a record for the most pitchers used by one team to record a shutout in a World Series game. Only two teams had previously employed as many as four pitchers to hold an opponent scoreless: the White Sox in Game 4 of the 2005 World Series and the Red Sox in Game 4 of the 2004 Fall Classic.
• The Indians have still not lost a game in which both Miller and Allen have appeared, according to ESPN. Cleveland is a perfect 23-0 when both those pitchers enter a game.
• Cleveland's staff ERA this postseason is a microscopic 1.65 after Friday's shutout, which ranks as the second-lowest postseason ERA of any team in the Divisional Era (1969-present) that made it to the World Series. Only the 1983 Orioles (1.10 ERA) have posted a lower team ERA while winning their league's pennant.
• Indians slugger Carlos Santana made his first start in left field since 2006, as a member of the Class A Advanced Vero Beach Dodgers. Santana played 21 games in left that year. His only time there in the Majors was four innings on Aug. 12, 2012, a game he began at first base.
• Santana became the first player to make his first big league start at a particular position in the World Series since the Cardinals' Jake Flowers in 1931, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Flowers, mostly a middle infielder, started Games 2, 4 and 6 at third base as St. Louis knocked off the Philadelphia A's.
• Hendricks erased any sign of early trouble when he picked off Lindor in the top of the first. Following his pickoff of the Dodgers' Josh Reddick in Game 6 of the NLCS, Hendricks became the first right-handed pitcher to record pickoffs in back-to-back games in a single postseason.
The Series returns to Wrigley
• With an infield single with one out in the first inning, Indians second baseman and Chicagoland native Jason Kipnis got the first hit in a World Series game at Wrigley Field since Cubs shortstop Roy Hughes singled to left off the Tigers' Hal Newhouser in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 1945 Fall Classic.
• With his leadoff single in the second, Ben Zobrist became the first Cubs player to record a hit in a World Series game at Wrigley Field since Hughes' ninth-inning single in Game 7 of the '45 Series.
• Crisp's RBI single made him the first player to knock in a run in a World Series game at Wrigley Field since the Cubs' Bill Nicholson doubled home Peanuts Lowrey in the eighth inning of Game 7 in 1945.
The lovely Lindor
• Lindor knocked a pair of singles in his first two at-bats Friday, becoming the first Indians player age 22 or younger to enjoy multiple multi-hit games in the World Series. Lindor collected three hits in the Indians' Game 1 victory.