CLEVELAND -- When asked to relive the pandemonium generated by his game-tying home run in the eighth inning of Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs on Wednesday night at Progressive Field, Rajai Davis forced a smile, and how could he not?"Definitely one of my most thrilling moments
CLEVELAND -- When asked to relive the pandemonium generated by his game-tying home run in the eighth inning of Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs on Wednesday night at Progressive Field, Rajai Davis forced a smile, and how could he not?
"Definitely one of my most thrilling moments ever," Davis said.
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But just as baseball giveth, baseball taketh away. The Cubs roared back in the 10th inning following a 17-minute rain delay to take an historic 8-7 thriller that ended Chicago's 108-year World Series drought. The Indians -- again led by Davis, who represented the tying run following an RBI single -- fell short, but just barely.
The thought of one of these two teams losing, with 176 years of cumulative angst on both sides, was already hard to fathom. It was fitting, then, that the wait spilled into a new day by the time the Cubs were crowned champions at Progressive Field -- Davis' dramatics gone for naught, though not forgotten.
Much of the exhilaration in this game stemmed from Davis' doings, for the Cubs had leads of 5-1 and 6-3 before the veteran outfielder and his teammates rallied against Cubs flamethrower Aroldis Chapman in the eighth, knotting the score at 6.
With a runner on first and two outs, Cubs manager Joe Maddon handed the ball to Chapman, who promptly allowed a run-scoring double to Brandon Guyer to narrow Chicago's lead to 6-4. That's when Davis, he of just five hits in his first 38 postseason at-bats, ripped a 98-mph fastball over the left-field wall, sending his dugout and the crowd into a frenzy with the latest-occurring game-tying home run in a World Series Game 7.
"I was in the on-deck circle, and it was just crazy," Coco Crisp said. "I'm watching the ball, and Chapman's up there and he's one of the best relievers in the game and you never know what the outcome might be. Typically, it's not in your favor, and when Raj hit that, it was like, 'Oh my gosh, we're back in it.' It's a breath of fresh air."
"When you see Chapman enough," Davis said, "you get an idea of how hard it's coming out. And it's coming out hard. But you get a better sense of it. The first time it's like, 'Oh, he's throwing really hard. Can I even get my bat out that quick?' You see him a couple times, he's still throwing hard, but you've got his angle, his release point a little better. ... It just felt like, this is going to be a fight that I'm going to win."
Davis delivered again in the 10th with a two-out RBI single against right-hander Carl Edwards Jr. that made it 8-7 -- after Chicago had rallied for two runs against Cleveland's Bryan Shaw in the top half of the frame -- but he was stranded when Michael Martinez grounded out to end the game and an incredible series.
"It's going to hurt. It hurts because we care, but they need to walk with their head held high," Indians manager Terry Francona said, "because they left nothing on the field. And that's all the things we ever ask them to do. They tried until there was nothing left."
Jane Lee has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2010.