CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs had one of the majors’ top offenses during the regular season.
It has been feast or famine in the playoffs.
The Cubs were shut out for the fourth time in their last eight postseason games when they lost 1-0 to Cleveland in Game 3 of the World Series on Friday night, handing home-field advantage right back to the Indians. Not even Kyle Schwarber could save the NL champions this time around.
The Fall Classic returned to Wrigley Field for the first time in 71 years, attracting a raucous crowd of 41,703 and packing the bars and restaurants that surround the cozy neighborhood ballpark. Some of the fans dressed up in Cubs-related costumes, and there were periodic cellphone flashes in the stands all night long.
But there wasn’t very much for them to cheer about, especially when the Cubs were at the plate.
Dexter Fowler, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist, the top four hitters in Chicago’s lineup, went 3 for 15 with a walk. Javier Baez, the co-MVP of the NLCS along with pitcher Jon Lester, came up empty in two big spots.
“From our perspective, we got out of our zone way too much,” manager Joe Maddon said.
Maddon went to Schwarber in the eighth, but Indians reliever Bryan Shaw broke his bat on a weak popup to second. Schwarber was one of the stars of the Cubs’ 5-1 victory in Game 2 on Wednesday night, contributing a pair of RBI singles, but he is relegated to pinch-hitting duties while the series in Chicago because he hasn’t been cleared to play the field following major left knee surgery in April.
The Cubs had one last chance in the ninth, putting runners on second and third with two out. But Indians closer Cody Allen struck out Baez with a high fastball, completing a five-hitter for Cleveland’s fifth shutout of the playoffs. Baez also bounced to shortstop with a runner on third for the final out in the seventh.
Game 4 is Saturday night, and it doesn’t get any easier for Chicago. Corey Kluber goes on short rest for Cleveland after striking out nine in a dominant performance in the Indians’ 6-0 victory in Game 1. John Lackey pitches for the Cubs.
Chicago, which scored more than 800 runs during the regular season for the first time since 2008, also was shut out in Games 2 and 3 in the NL Championship Series against Los Angeles. The Cubs then won three in a row to advance, outscoring the Dodgers 23-6 along the way.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap