(CNN) — The Cleveland Indians scored just one run, and their pitching staff once again made sure that was enough.
Pinch hitter Coco Crisp had an RBI single in the top of the seventh inning, while four pitchers combined for the shutout, giving the Indians a 1-0 win against the Chicago Cubs in Game 3 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, the first World Series game there in 71 years. Cleveland leads the series two games to one.
It’s Cleveland’s second shutout in this series and its fifth in 11 postseason games. The five shutouts is a Major League record for any team in a single postseason.
“We needed something — anything — just to push a run across,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Our staff made it hold up, which is a remarkable effort.”
Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin went 4 2/3 innings while Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen combined for the rest in relief in what was another dominant outing for the Indians’ bullpen. Indians relievers have a combined 1.60 ERA in these playoffs, fourth best in postseason history.
Allen and Miller this postseason have thrown 25 scoreless innings, striking out a combined 45 batters.
It was a game with several missed chances by both teams, including at the very end. In the bottom of the ninth, the Cubs had runners on second and third with two outs, but Allen struck out Javier Baez with a high fastball to end the game.
“It’s enjoyable to be out there, to be on the field, to live that moment of getting the last out and feeling the emotions of getting a win,” Allen said. “To be on the field and to do that, that’s a special feeling.”
In World Series history, the team winning Game 3 in a 1-1 series has gone on to win the championship 37 times (64.9%).
The Cubs haven’t won the World Series since 1908. No team in the four major North American sports has ever gone longer without an appearance in a championship game or series.
The Indians, meanwhile, haven’t won the World Series since 1948. Coupled with the Cubs’ drought, the 174 combined seasons between titles for the two clubs is the largest in World Series history.
Game 4 is Saturday, with first pitch scheduled for 8:08 p.m. ET. Corey Kluber, who shut down the Cubs in Game 1, will start for the Indians, while John Lackey will go for Chicago.
Crisp comes up big again
This isn’t the first time that Crisp, who was acquired from the Oakland A’s in late August, has come up big for Cleveland this postseason.
The switch-hitting outfielder, who started his career with the Indians, has hit two home runs, both coming in series-clinching scenarios. The first was in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, when Cleveland swept the Boston Red Sox. The other came against the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series that helped send the Indians to the World Series.
On Friday night, Roberto Perez singled to start the seventh and was replaced with pinch runner Michael Martinez. Tyler Naquin moved Martinez to second with a sacrifice bunt. Courtesy of a wild pitch by Carl Edwards, Jr., Martinez moved to third. Rajai Davis walked.
The pitcher, Miller, was due up next, and Francona sent up Crisp.
On the first pitch, Crisp, who turns 37 on Tuesday, connected with a base hit to right field, driving in Martinez.
“It obviously feels good,” Crisp said. “No matter if you get the big hit or lay the bunt down, you want to do something that can possibly help the team. Fortunately enough for me today, it was the hit.”
Paralyzed dad sees his son pitch
It was a special night for Tomlin, as he took the mound at Wrigley with his father, Jerry Tomlin, in attendance. He gave his dad a performance to remember, giving up just two hits and walking one.
Two months ago, it didn’t seem possible that the two would be able to share a moment like this together.
According to MLB.com, Jerry Tomlin felt a burning in his stomach while working at a power plant in Whitehouse, Texas, in August. In the hospital, he suddenly became paralyzed from the chest down. The cause: arteriovenous malformation (in regular speak, a tangle of blood vessels) on his spinal cord. He underwent emergency surgery to keep the condition from getting any worse.
There’s a chance Jerry Tomlin will never walk again. But that didn’t keep him from traveling to Chicago and watching his son pitch.
“It’s been awesome,” Jerry Tomlin said from his seat on the Fox television broadcast. “For me, it’s a dream come true.”
For Tomlin, just being able to see his dad was what he was looking forward to the most entering Game 3.
“I think I’ve probably said it more times than I probably should, but it was probably one of my more emotional starts I’ve ever had in my entire life, career, any situation baseball related ever,” Tomlin said. “I’m fortunate enough for him to even be here. So to have him get to experience a World Series game and obviously my first World Series start, it meant everything.”
Historic night at Wrigley Field
Chicago’s loss spoiled the mood at what was an electric atmosphere at Wrigley Field, a ballpark second only to Fenway Park as the oldest stadium in Major League Baseball.
Before Friday night, the last time the Cubs played a World Series game in this ballpark was on October 10, 1945, when they lost the series to the Detroit Tigers in Game 7. To add to the misery, the now-famous “billy goat curse” was put on the club just a few days earlier by a local tavern owner, who was denied admittance to the stadium with his pet goat for Game 4.
The 102-year-old ballpark known as the “Friendly Confines” has never seen its home team Cubs win the World Series.
And it’s a tough ticket to get. The average ticket price for Game 5, which is Sunday, is $6,548, making it the most expensive sporting event of all time, according to TicketIQ, which has been tracking ticket prices for seven years.
Comic legend and Cubs super-fan Bill Murray fired up the crowd during the seventh inning stretch with his rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” ending with a reference to the late Cubs sportscaster Harry Caray, yelling, “Let’s get some runs!”
Other celebrities in attendance included actor Jon Hamm, television/radio personality Jenny McCarthy, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, actor Jim Belushi and actor and comedian Jeff Garlin.
The frenzy wasn’t contained to just inside the stadium, as bars in the Wrigleyville neighborhood were charging hundreds of dollars for fans to watch the game.