CLEVELAND — Jake Arrieta made a teasing try at history, Kyle Schwarber drove in two runs and the Chicago Cubs brushed off a shutout to even the World Series with their first Fall Classic win in 71 years, 5-1 over the Cleveland Indians in Game 2 on Wednesday night.
Arrieta carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, briefly invoking Don Larsen’s name, before the Indians touched him for two hits and a run. However, the right-hander helped give Chicago just what it needed — a split at Progressive Field — before the Cubbies return to their Wrigley Field den for the next three games starting Friday night.
The Cubs hadn’t won in the Series since beating Detroit 8-7 in 1945 to force Game 7.
The free-swinging Schwarber, who made it back for Chicago’s long-awaited Series return after missing most of the season with an injured left knee, hit an RBI single in the third off Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer and had another in the Cubs’ three-run fifth — highlighted by Ben Zobrist’s run-scoring triple.
Even the presence of star LeBron James and the NBA champion Cavaliers, sporting their new rings, couldn’t stop the Indians from losing for the first time in six home games this postseason.
And Cleveland manager Terry Francona’s magical touch in October finally fizzled as he dropped to 9-1 in Series games.
With rain in the forecast, Major League Baseball moved the first pitch up an hour in hopes of avoiding delays or a postponement.
It turned out to be a good call as the game went on without a hitch and ended after more than four hours as light rain was beginning to fall.
Arrieta and the Cubs provided the only storm.
The bearded 30-year-old coasted through five innings without allowing a hit, the first pitcher to get that deep in a Series game with a no-hitter since David Cone of the New York Yankees in 1998.
For a brief period, Arrieta looked as if he might challenge Larsen’s gem — a perfect game — in 1956 before Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, a die-hard Cubs fan as a kid, doubled with one out in the sixth .
Before that, Cleveland hitters had a couple good swings, and drew three walks, but couldn’t mount a real threat. Arrieta has two career no-hitters, in fact, including the only one in the majors this year.
Cubs lefty Mike Montgomery replaced Arrieta and worked two scoreless innings before Aroldis Chapman came in and unleashed his 103 mph heat while getting the last four outs.
The teams will have an off day before the series resumes with Game 3 at Wrigley, which will host its first Series game since Oct. 6, 1945, when tavern owner Billy Sianis was asked to leave with his pet goat, Murphy, and a curse was born.
Josh Tomlin will start for the Indians, who will lose the designated hitter in the NL ballpark, against Kyle Hendricks.
Schwarber might also wind up on the bench after two days as the DH.
With a gametime temperature of 43, the weather was more fitting for the Browns and Bears to bang heads than the boys of summer.
The Cubs were the ones who came up thumping after being blanked 6-0 in Game 1 by Corey Kluber and Cleveland’s shut-down bullpen.
Zobrist’s one-out triple triggered the fifth as the Cubs opened a 5-0 lead, not that Arrieta needed it.
After Anthony Rizzo walked following a 10-pitch at-bat, Zobrist laced a ball off Zach McAllister that was going to be a double until right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall slipped and fell. Rizzo was waved around and Zobrist hustled into third.
Schwarber followed with his second RBI and reliever Bryan Shawn later walked No. 9 hitter Addison Russell with the bases loaded.
Unlike his start in Toronto on Oct. 17, when his stitched cut opened up and Bauer was forced to make a bloody departure in the first inning, his finger held up fine.
The Cubs, though, put a few nicks in him in 3 2/3 innings.
The drone accident has brought attention to the quirky Bauer, and one Chicago fan tried to rattle the right-hander by sending a smaller version of the remote-controlled, flying object that cut him.
Bauer posted a photo of it on Twitter, saying “I see the @Cubs fans love me! How nice of them to send me a gift!”
The Cubs, who were off balance from the start against Kluber, scored their first run in a Series game since ‘45 in the first on Rizzo’s RBI double .
Bauer needed 51 pitches to get through two innings, and he was one strike from getting out of the third unscathed when Chicago turned a walk and to singles into a 2-0 lead.
Cubs: Hendricks is coming off his brilliant performance in Game 5 of the NLCS when he pitched two-hit ball for seven innings as the Cubs clinched their first pennant in 71 years. The right-hander went 16-8 during the regular season with a league-leading 2.13 ERA.
Indians: It will be an emotional night for Tomlin, who will pitch on 12 day’s rest with his ailing father, Jerry, in attendance. The elder Tomlin became stricken with a spinal condition in August, when Tomlin was struggling on the mound. The right-hander more than recovered and rescued Cleveland’s rotation in the postseason, winning both starts.