Five key moments from the Indians' 6-0 win in World Series Game 1

Who needs a great bullpen when your starting pitching is this good? The Cleveland Indians flipped the script during their 6-0 win against the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the World Series.

Of course, with Corey Kluber on the mound, that’s always a possibility. Kluber turned in a phenomenal performance against a dominant Cubs offense. The 30-year-old tossed six scoreless innings against Chicago, giving up just four hits. Kluber did not walk any hitters and struck out nine during the start.

Corey Kluber dominated the Cubs in Game 1 of the World Series. (AP Photo/Elsa Garrison)
Corey Kluber dominated the Cubs in Game 1 of the World Series. (AP Photo/Elsa Garrison)

With Kluber at the top of his game, Indians manager Terry Francona didn’t have to turn to his bullpen until the usual innings. Once he did, they did not disappoint. Andrew Miller entered in the seventh and immediately worked out of a bases-loaded jam.

It was a similar story in the eighth. Miller put two runners on, bringing the potential game-tying run to the plate with two outs. He refused to give in, however, striking out Kyle Schwarber on five pitches.

Cleveland got some cushion in the bottom of the eighth, as Roberto Perez hit a three-run homer against Hector Rondon. With the game safely in hand, Francona turned things over to closer Cody Allen. Allen came through, working around a one-out double to keep the Cubs off the board and give Cleveland the early 1-0 lead in the World Series.

Francisco Lindor ignited the Indians' offense with an early stolen base. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Francisco Lindor ignited the Indians’ offense with an early stolen base. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Francisco Lindor remained the catalyst of the Indians’ offense. The 22-year-old shortstop picked up the first hit of the contest, singling against Jon Lester with two outs in the first. At that point, Lindor did what every other team has threatened against Lester this postseason: He stole second base.

That seemed to rattle Lester a bit. The left-hander walked the next two batters, loading the bases. It was the first time all postseason Lester looked vulnerable. With the bases loaded, that set the stage for infielder Jose Ramirez.

With Lester on the ropes, Ramirez stepped to the plate hoping to give his club an early lead. On the second pitch of the at-bat, he did just that. Ramirez hit a weak, slow-rolling ground ball to third for an infield hit. The statcast data on the hit wasn’t available, probably because the exit velocity was so low it couldn’t actually be tracked.

But, hey, style points don’t matter, right? It goes down as a single in the box score and it gave Cleveland the early lead. That was all they needed in this one.

The Chicago Cubs had no answer for the Indians ace in Game 1. Kluber featured a dynamic cut fastball and filthy two-seamer, the latter of which had Cubs batters looking completely lost. He used both pitches to strike out a World Series record eight batters over the first three innings. The eight strikeouts also set an Indians World Series record for a single game. Kluber finished the outing with nine strikeouts over six scoreless innings. Better yet for Cleveland, his 88 pitches should allow him to be relatively fresh for Game 4. (Mark Townsend)

The Cubs threatened in a big way in the top of the seventh inning. After Ben Zobrist led off the frame with a single, Francona called upon ace reliever Andrew Miller to keep Chicago off the board. For the first time all postseason, Miller looked mortal. He walked Kyle Schwarber, and gave up a single to Javier Baez to load the bases with no outs.

At that point, Miller dug in and rediscovered his postseason form. A shallow fly out to center kept the Cubs from advancing on the base paths. Then, Miller struck out both Addison Russell and David Ross to end the inning. It was the Cubs’ biggest moment of the game, and Miller completely shut them down.

Miller ran into a similar situation in the eighth inning. After Kris Bryant walked and Ben Zobrist singled, Schwarber stepped to the plate representing the game-tying run. Once again, Miller came through. He struck out Schwarber on five pitches to end the inning.

If there’s a silver lining for Chicago, it’s that Miller threw 46 pitches. That could impact his availability for Game 2. Then again, given what we’ve seen from Miller thus far, it’s dangerous to count him out in any situation.

With the Indians already up 3-0, catcher Roberto Perez delivered the knockout blow. With two men on in the bottom of the eighth, Perez hit an 84 mph slider from Rondon out to left center to give Cleveland a commanding 6-0 lead. It was Perez’s second home run of the night, which puts him in elite company.

Perez came into the postseason as Cleveland’s forgotten man. You could make the argument he was the team’s third choice to start games in October. Despite that, he’s hit three pretty significant blasts this postseason.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik