CLEVELAND — Going to extra innings was merely a minor inconvenience for a team that waited 108 years to win the World Series.
It took a while, but for the first time in more than a century, the Chicago Cubs are the last team standing.
The Cubs scored two runs in the top of the 10th inning, then held on to beat the Cleveland Indians 8-7 Wednesday night at Progressive Field in a wild seventh game of the World Series.
The Cubs captured their first championship since 1908, as Series MVP Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero came through with run-scoring hits in the 10th.
The Game 7 loser is now the major league team with the longest World Series drought. Cleveland last won the World Series in 1948.
The Indians took a three-games-to-one lead with a 7-2 win in Game 4 at Wrigley Field, but the Cubs won the last three games of the series, outscoring Cleveland 20-13 in that span.
“It could not have been a more entertaining series,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
“That was an incredible game to be a part of,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “It’s going to hurt, but it hurts because we care. (The Cleveland players) left nothing on the field. They tried until there was nothing left.”
Maddon said he was glad his team was able to put all the talk of “curses and superstitions” involving the Cubs’ long World Series drought behind them.
“I respect what happened in the past, but if you carry that burden with you all the time, this (winning the World Series) would never happen,” Maddon said. “So it’s great to get beyond that because we’ve got a chance to be good for a long time.”
The Cubs are only the seventh team in history to win a World Series after being down 3-1. They are the first team to win Games 6 and 7 on the road since the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates did it in Baltimore. Cleveland had the home-field advantage in the series but lost three of the four games played at Progressive Field.
Cleveland’s last visit to the World Series also ended with an extra-inning loss in Game 7. The 1997 Florida Marlins topped the Indians 3-2 in 11 innings.
On Wednesday, with the score tied at 6, and after a 17-minute rain delay, Kyle Schwarber led off the top of the 10th inning with a single off Bryan Shaw (0-1). Albert Almora pinch-ran for Schwarber.
Kris Bryant flied out to deep center field, allowing Almora to move to second. The Indians then intentionally walked Anthony Rizzo. Zobrist lined a double into the left field corner, scoring Almora and moving Rizzo to third.
“He left a pitch up that I was able to slap down the line. That was all I was trying to do,” said Zobrist, who was part of the Kansas City Royals’ World Series championship team last year. “Man, this one about made me pass out. It was an epic battle, like a heavyweight fight.”
The Indians intentionally walked Addison Russell, but Montero foiled that strategy as well by stroking a single to left field to make it 8-6.
Cleveland, refusing to go quietly, scored a run in the bottom of the 10th. With two outs and nobody on base, Brandon Guyer singled off Carl Edwards Jr. and then took second on defensive indifference. Rajai Davis lined a single to center, scoring Guyer to make it 8-7.
Mike Montgomery relieved Edwards and retired Michael Martinez on groundout to third base, ending the game and starting the celebration in Chicago.
“I can’t believe, after 108 years, we’re finally able to hoist the trophy,” Zobrist said.
Aroldis Chapman (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on three hits but getting the win. Montgomery got the save — the first of his major league career, regular season or postseason.
Dexter Fowler, Javier Baez and David Ross all homered for the Cubs, but the most dramatic homer of the game was struck by Cleveland’s Davis in the eighth inning.
With Chicago leading 6-3, and two outs in the eighth, Jose Ramirez reached on an infield single off Jon Lester. Chapman relieved Lester, and Guyer lined a double into the gap in right-center field, scoring Ramirez to make it 6-4.
Davis then battled Chapman to a 2-2 count before hitting a line drive over the left field wall for a two-run, game-tying home run.
Asked what his emotions were when Davis hit the home run, Francona said, “You don’t think about your emotions, you’re trying desperately to find a way to win a game.”
Lester was in the game after replacing Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks in the fifth inning. Hendricks allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits in 4 2/3 innings. Indians starter Corey Kluber, making his third start of the series, the last two on three days’ rest, allowed four runs on six hits in four-plus innings.
Schwarber and Fowler each had three hits for Chicago. Ramirez, Guyer, Davis and Coco Crisp had two hits apiece for Cleveland.
NOTES: Cubs LF Ben Zobrist, who went 1-for-5 in Game 7, hit .357 (10-for-28) with two RBIs in the series. … Indians left-handed-hitting OF Tyler Naquin usually starts against right-handed pitching, but with Cubs starting RHP Kyle Hendricks, right-handed-hitting Rajai Davis started in center in place of Naquin, whose miscommunication with OF Lonnie Chisenhall in the first inning of Game 6 led to a routine fly ball dropping in safely, scoring two Cubs runs. … Indians 1B Mike Napoli, who went 0-for-5, has 15 career RBIs in the World Series, the most among all active players. … 3B Kris Bryant homered in Game 5 and Game 6, becoming the first Cubs player to homer in consecutive games in a single World Series.