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Find the latest sports news and updates from the writers of the Tampa Bay Times.

    Cubs catcher Willson Contreras gives closer Aroldis Chapman a leaping high-five after finishing off the victory that sends the World Series to Chicago tied at 1. Chicago Tribune
     

    Cubs bounce back to beat Indians, tie World Series at 1

    By MARC TOPKIN
    Times Staff Writer
     
    CLEVELAND — Maybe it was just a bad opening night.

    The Cubs looked much more like the team that led the majors in wins and was a heavy favorite to win a championship in Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday, beating the Indians 5-1.

    They did it with a strong performance from starter Jake Arrieta, who added a dose of drama by rolling into the sixth inning before allowing his first hit, though the combination of his high pitch count and the pending rain made any threat to Don Larsen's place in history unlikely. Arrieta, who said he was too amped up early, finished with 98 pitches.

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    Former Ray Brandon Guyer thrilled to be on Indians' World Series roster

    By MARC TOPKIN
    Times Staff Writer
     
    CLEVELAND — Parole came unexpectedly for Brandon Guyer, who was stunned when summoned to manager Kevin Cash's office as he was readying for the Rays' Aug. 1 game and told he was traded to the Indians.
     
    Sure, that meant he'd have to race home to grab some clothes and head out since his new team wanted him on a flight that night. Sure, that meant he'd have to leave wife Lindsay to deal with their two young kids and pack all their stuff. Sure, that meant he'd have to say goodbye to the buddies and bosses he'd become extremely close with during 5½ years in Tampa Bay.
     
    But that also meant that rather than finish in last place with the rest of the Rays, he'd end up playing in the World Series.
     
    Area Rays fans seem mostly to be rooting for Cubs manager Joe Maddon, though some clearly still feel a bit betrayed. Getty Images
     

    Fennelly: Wishing ex-Rays manager Joe Maddon well, but not 'this' well

    By MARTIN FENNELLY
    Times Sports Columnist
     

    Most of us wished Joe Maddon well when he left the Rays for Chicago. Great guy.

    But did he have to do this well?

    Curse Busting Joe is in the World Series with the Chicago Cubs. He's the king of baseball, the miracle worker, always with a quote. Animal visits. Pajama road trips. One big blast. Same old Joe. Only now he belongs to Chicago. People there claim him as such, too. They think they invented him.

    Wait.

    We had him first!

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    Florida-Georgia: World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail party becomes the Nick Saban Coaching Tree Bowl

    By Matt Baker, Times Staff Writer

    GAINESVILLE — When Nick Saban put Alabama's coaching staff together in 2008, his coordinators knew almost nothing about each other.

    Newly promoted defensive coordinator Kirby Smart knew just-hired offensive guru Jim McElwain had worked at Louis­ville and assumed he had ties to Bobby Petrino. McElwain knew even less about his counterpart but learned everything he needed to when Smart was among the first people to greet him in Tuscaloosa.

    "Which tells you what kind of guy he is," McElwain said.

    Eight and a half years later, the two will meet Saturday under different circumstances, when McElwain leads No. 14 Florida against Smart's Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville. Aside from enormous SEC East implications for the Gators and bragging rights in one of the league's most storied rivalries, both coaches have a personal stake. … Read more

    Offensive line biggest factor in Bucs' resurgence

    By Rick Stroud, Times Staff Writer

    TAMPA — This will sound arrogant. Maybe a little immodest, traits not associated with an offensive lineman. In proper context, it wasn't meant that way. But when talking about the Bucs' success running the football the past two games, despite missing their top two running backs, tackle Demar Dotson was also being completely honest.

    "Like I said, I don't think it really matters who is back there," Dotson said.

    He's right.

    This is not to suggest that Tampa Bay could put a 25-pound frozen turkey behind that line and it would run for 100 yards. Jacquizz Rodgers, who has rushed for 101 and 154 yards, respectively, in the past two games, is no schlub, but he was out of football when the season started. He has taken his bows. Rookie Peyton Barber broke free for a 44-yard touchdown as the Bucs ran through San Francisco like Highway 101 on Sunday. … Read more

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