3 Nov 2016

Winner takes all in game 7 of World Series

6:29 am on 3 November 2016

The Chicago Cubs set up a winner-take-all game seven of the World Series by crushing the Cleveland Indians 9-3 on Wednesday (NZ Time) to level Major League Baseball's best-of-seven championship.

Facing elimination, reigning pitcher Jake Arrieta helped the Cubs to victory, backed by 22-year-old shortstop Addison Russell who smashed a grand slam in the third innings to push Chicago firmly in control of the game.

Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta.

Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant also scored home runs for Chicago.

The victory kept alive the Cubs' quest of winning their first World Series title in 108 years, and for the second time in as many games Chicago put on hold Cleveland's celebration of a first World Series crown since 1948.

One of the teams will end their drought on Wednesday, but Cleveland fans who came to celebrate a Game Six clincher on an unusually warm night were deflated and left the ballpark early as the Cubs romped.

The desperate Cubs entered the game with a team batting average of .210 with only 10 runs in the first five games and were shut out twice.

But the National League champions, who led the majors with 103 wins in the regular season, quickly turned the game into a lromp with two big innings.

The Cubs roared out of the gate with three runs in the first, two coming on a huge gaffe by Cleveland outfielders.

Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant.

Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Bryant crushed a hanging curve from losing pitcher Josh Tomlin to left-center for a two-out home run.

Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist lined singles before Russell slapped a pop fly that center-fielder Tyler Naquin and right-fielder Lonnie Chisenhall allowed to drop between them in a communication lapse.

Rizzo trotted home and Zobrist charged around the bases, bowling over Roberto Perez to score.

The shortstop rocked a grand slam over the wall in center to score Kyle Schwarber, Rizzo and Zobrist ahead of him to make it 7-0.

Cleveland got their first hit and first run in the fourth when Jason Kipnis doubled and scored on Mike Napoli's single.

Kipnis homered in the fifth to make it 7-2.

A two-run shot by Rizzo in the ninth and a last-gasp run by Cleveland closed out the contest.

The deciding game seven gets underway at 1pm (NZ Time).

- Reuters