By HAL McCOY
‘The city of Cleveland is like our team. It has been pushed around and now it’s time to push back.’ — Cleveland Indians Manager Terry Francona.
And the Cleveland Indians gave the first shove Tuesday night in Game One of the World Series, with large pushes from pitchers Corey Kluber and Andrew Miller.
If Kluber keeps this up, they might change the spelling of the city to Kleveland. On a chill night on the lakefront, Kluber had his slider doing a Fred Astaire tap dance.
THE CHICAGO CUBS WERE helpless heifers en route to losing the first game, 6-0.
Catcher Roberto Perez, a plug-in for injured Yan Gomes and batting ninth, clubbed two home runs, including a three-run machete chop blast in the bottom of the eighth off Hector Rondon to put the exclamation point on this one.
Kluber set a World Series record by striking out eight batters in the first three innings. And he took a three-hit shutout into the seventh inning.
When he gave up a leadoff single to Ben Zobrist, Tribe manager Terry Francona popped the top on his Miller, bringing in Andrew Miller.
The left hander, who has the same slider as Kluber only from he left side instead of the right, performed a three-card monty act on the Cubs — now you see it, now you don’t. In two innings, Miller had five men on base and not one located home plate.
He walked Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez singled to load the bases with no outs in the seventh.
Miller had the Cubs right where he wanted. He got pinch-hitter Willson Contreras on a shallow fly to center field. Then he struck out Addison Russell and struck out David Ross on a full count, leaving three Cubs anchored on their bases.
Ross wore a microphone during the game and when he singled in the third inning he said to first baseman Mike Napoli of Kluber, “This guy’s slider is filthy.”
Indeed it is and the Cubs had no Lava soap on them to clean it up. Kluber pitched six innings, plus one hitter, and gave up no runs, four hits, no walks and struck out nine.
THE TRIBE STRUCK QUICKLY against Cubs starter Jon Lester and it was mostly of Lester’s doing. Cleveland scored two runs in the first and only hit one ball out of the infield.
That ball was hit by Francisco Lindor with two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the first. He quickly stole second.
Lester walked Mike Napoli. Carlos Santana walked to load the bases. Jose Ramirez hit a 45-foot roller up the third base line for an infield hit for a run. Lester then hit Brandon Guyer with a pitch to force in a second run. Guyer was hit by pitches 31 times during the regular season, baseball’s version of a human pinada.
The Tribe added a run with one out in the fourth when Roberto Perez kissed one off a railing above the left field wall for his first home run of the night to push the lead to 3-0. That was a bad omen for the Cubs. The Indians are 61-0 this season when constructing a lead of three or more runs.
And Perez doubled their pleasure from 3-0 to 6-0 in the eighth.
And the Cleveland bullpen hasn’t blown a save since August 17, 19 for 19.
LINDOR, THE 22-YEAR-OLD shortstop with a glove endorsed by Elmer’s Glue, had three hits and scored a run. Jose Ramirez had three hits and drove in a run.
On the pre-game show, analyst Pete Rose said Chicago’s Kyle Schwarber, a Middletown native, would strike out three times.
Schwarber had not played in a game since the first week of the season after wrecking his knee running into teammate Dexter Fowler chasing a fly ball.
Schwarber struck out his first time. Then he doubled to become the first player in history to get his first hit of the season in a World Series game. Then he walked.
He came to bat in the eighth against Miller, representing the tying run with two on and two outs. Schwarber struck out on a 2-and-2 pitch, Miller’s 46th of the game, his most this season. And Rose was two-thirds correct on his Scharber prediction.
Rose also refused to predict before the game which team would win the Series winner. He said, “I’ll guarantee the winner’s name will begin with ‘C.’
My wife, Nadine, immediately said, “Yeah, but I’ll betcha he has a bet on one of them.”
Nadine pays attention.