CLEVELAND, Ohio — In what will go down as one of the greatest games in Major League Baseball history, Kyle Hendricks '12 helped pitch the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series victory in 108 years in an 8-7, 10-inning, game-seven classic at Cleveland’s Progressive Field on Wednesday night.
Hendricks got the starting nod for the decisive game and hurled 4.2 innings for the Cubs, yielding two runs, only one earned, on four hits and a walk while striking out two. When he departed the mound, he had thrown just 63 pitches and Chicago sported a 5-1 lead.
The Cubs still held a 6-3 advantage with two outs in the eighth when the Indians struck for three runs, tying the game at six. The last two runs scored on a dramatic, two-run blast off the bat of Rajai Davis, who had hit just 55 home runs in over 4,000 career plate appearances between the regular season and postseason.
After neither team could push across a run in the ninth, a 17-minute rain delay heightened the tension in the stadium for the 38,104 fans on hand. In the top of the 10th, Ben Zobrist slapped a one-out double down the third-base line to score pinch runner Albert Almora Jr. from second base with the go-ahead run, and Miguel Montero added an RBI single with the bases loaded for an 8-6 lead.
Cleveland would not go quietly, however, despite the first two batters being retired. Carl Edwards Jr. issued a walk to Brandon Guyer, who took second on defensive indifference and scored on a line single to center off the bat of Davis. That led to southpaw Mike Montgomery trotting in from the bullpen, and he needed just two pitches to set off the Cubs celebration, inducing a routine grounder to third baseman Kris Bryant to end the game.
While Hendricks did not get a decision in the victory, he finished his first World Series with an ERA of 1.00 over his two starts. Over the entire postseason, he posted an ERA of 1.42 in 25.1 innings, yielding 19 hits and seven walks while fanning 18.
Hendricks is the sixth Dartmouth alumnus to play in the World Series, joining Chief Meyers 1909 (1911-13, ’16), Red Rolfe ’31 (1936-39, ’41-42), Jim Beattie ’76 (1978), Mike Remlinger ’88 (1999) and Brad Ausmus ’91 (2005). But he is just the third to taste victory along with Rolfe — who won five titles with the Yankees — and Beattie.
Hendricks ended the 2016 season as the MLB leader in ERA at 2.13 and is one of the top candidates for the National League Cy Young Award, which will be announced on Nov. 16.