CLEVELAND – A game that will live forever in baseball history ended with yet more heartbreak for the Cleveland Indians.

Despite a thrilling comeback, Cleveland fell 8-7 to the Chicago Cubs in 10 innings of Game 7 of the World Series, denying the Indians of their first championship since 1948.

Instead, it was the Cubs who ended a drought, winning their first world title since 1908 with a third consecutive win that make Cleveland the first team since the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985 to lose a World Series after being ahead three games to one.

“It hurts because we care, but (our players) need to walk with their head held high because they left nothing on the field,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.

The Cubs scored twice in the top of the 10th off Cleveland reliever Bryan Shaw and closed out the championship behind reliever Mike Montgomery in front of a sold-out Progressive Field crowd of 38,104 wrung-out by tension.

Chicago left fielder Ben Zobrist double down the left-field line score pinch-runner Albert Almora and break a 6-6 tie with one out in the top of the 10th. Miguel Montero followed with a single scoring Anthony Rizzo to give the Cubs an 8-6 lead.

“It was like a heavyweight fight, man,” said Zobrist, named World Series MVP with 10 hits in the seven games. “Just blow for blow, everybody playing their heart out. The Indians never gave up either.”

Rajai Davis’ single off Cubs reliever Carl Edwards scored Brandon Guyer in the bottom of the 10th to cut Chicago’s lead to one, but Mongotmery got Michael Martinez to ground out to third, end the game, and end 108 years of frustration.

“The burden has been lifted,” Chicago manager Joe Maddon said. “It should have never been there in the first place, I don’t think, but now we can move forward.”

The Cubs led 6-3 and were four outs from their first World Series championship in 108 years when Cleveland rallied with three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, the final two on a home run by Rajai Davis off Chicago closer Aroldis Chapman.

Davis’ two-out blast traveled 369 feet and just cleared the 19-foot wall in left field to tie the game 6-6 and send the sell-out crowd of 38,104 at Progressive Field into absolute bedlam.

“We get so caught up in the game, you don’t think about what your emotions are going to be or things like that,” Francona said. “You’re trying desperately to find a way to win a game.”

Chapman came into the game after Jose Ramirez singled off reliever Jon Lester with two outs in the eighth. The lefty promptly gave up an RBI double to Lonnie Chisenhall to shrink Chicago’s lead to 6-4. And then Davis became a Cleveland legend.

The Cubs threatened in the top of the ninth with Jason Heyward on third and one out, but he died there. After the Indians failed to score, play was halted until 12:11 a.m. because of a 17-minute rain delay.

The Cubs, who led the majors with 103 wins in the regular season, staved off elimination three times in four days. They won the final two games on the road, the first team to do so in wiping out a 3-1 deficit since the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates.

“It could not have been a more entertaining, difficult series to win,” Maddon said.

Chicago seized the lead in the top of the first when Fowler began the game with a home run to center. Cleveland answered in the third when Coco Crisp doubled and scored from third on a single by Carlos Santana.
The Cubs retook the lead with two runs in the fourth after their first two batters reached against Corey Kluber, making his third start of the series, the final two on short rest. Addison Russell’s sacrifice fly scored Kris Bryant, and Willson Contreras’ double scored Zobrist to make it 3-1.

Chicago’s lead grew to 4-1 when second baseman Javier Baez, who made two errors in the first three innings, led off the fifth with a homer. That knocked Kluber out of the game in favor of reliever Andrew Miller, who promptly gave up an RBI double to Rizzo to put the Indians in a 5-1 hole.

Cleveland rallied in the fifth. Lester, in relief of starter Kyle Hendricks, uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Santana to score from third and Jason Kipnis to race around from second and also score to cut Chicago’s lead to 5-3.

“It was just an epic battle,” Zobrist said.

The Cubs went ahead 6-3 in the sixth when Ross, playing in his final game before retirement, cracked a solo homer to center off Miller. Chicago seemed in full control with that three-run lead and two outs in the eighth, no one on.

And then the Indians took the game to a special place in World Series history, a place where Davis’ homer ties game, more innings are needed, and no one will soon forget why.

“That was an incredible game to be part of,” Francona said.

— You can reach Todd Jones at tjones@dispatch.com or on Twitter @Todd_Jones.