CLEVELAND — It hurts so bad because this team didn’t fold in the second half of the season.

Because this team didn’t cower to the powerful Red Sox or the griping Blue Jays.

Because this team didn’t care as seemingly the whole nation rooted for the Cubs and continued to ignore the team that only had a 68-year championship drought.

It hurts so bad because the Indians did so much in a Game 7 for the ages, but did not get the storybook ending they and the city so desperately wanted.

The Indians’ stunning postseason ride came to a stunning end as Wednesday night turned to Thursday morning. The Cubs scored twice in the top of the 10th inning and held on in the bottom half to win 8-7, capping a rally from down three games to one in the World Series.

This was only after Rajai Davis’ two-run home run off Aroldis Chapman punctuated a three-run eighth inning that tied the game at six and both teams had to endure a 17-minute rain delay before the start of the 10th.

Seriously, hadn’t the Indians and Cubs waited long enough?

Ben Zobrist’s RBI double off Bryan Shaw in the 10th put the Cubs back on top in a game they led most of the night. Miguel Montero, Chicago’s third catcher of the night, followed with an RBI single two batters later. The North Siders were well on their way to ending 108 years of waiting and handing the baton for most tortured baseball franchise to the Tribe.

The Indians got a run back in the bottom of the 10th on Davis’ two-out RBI single. But Michael Martinez, maybe the 25th guy on a 25-man roster, grounded out to end the game.

“It’s going to hurt,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “It hurts because we care, but they need to walk with their head held high because they left nothing on the field. And that’s all the things we ever ask them to do. They tried until there was nothing left.”

The Indians are the first team since the 1985 St. Louis Cardinals to fumble away a 3-1 lead in the World Series.

That’s not a fair burden for this resilient, plucky group that overcame so much. Of course, the Cubs don’t want to hear about fair. They’ve waited since 1908 to celebrate a title, and it seemed like they brought half of Chicago to Progressive Field to do it as they waved the “W” flags on the field and sang “Go, Cubs, Go!” long after midnight.

Corey Kluber was reason for confidence in Cleveland entering Game 7. Postseason ERAs of 0.89 inspire that.

But Kluber, trying to win his third game of the Fall Classic, didn’t have his best stuff, and none of his teammates did either for most of the night, continuing a slow, steady decline from when the Indians led 1-0 in the third inning of Game 5.

The Indians lost a nail-biter in Wrigley Field that night, then didn’t look like the same team once they got back from Chicago.

Really, it took until games 175 and 176 of the season, but Cleveland finally missed Michael Brantley’s glove and bat.

On a night in which the ball was jumping and carrying well, the Indians had to scratch and claw for every scoring opportunity through the first seven innings.

And to make matters worse, their base running and defense suddenly betrayed them.

Jose Ramirez was picked off first base after leading off the second inning with an infield single.

The fielding woes from Game 6 continued. In the top of the fourth, first baseman Mike Napoli’s poor throw ruined any chance of a double play. Later that inning, Davis caught an Addison Russell fly ball flat-footed in short left-center, seemingly not expecting Kris Bryant to tag from third base. But that he did, and Davis’ high throw allowed Bryant to get under the tag of Roberto Perez for a 2-1 Cubs lead.

The next batter, Willson Contreras, drove a deep ball to center. Davis took a step in, before trying to hustle back. He never made it, a step behind the ball as it slammed into the wall for an RBI double. The Cubs led 3-1.

They are the type of plays that seemed shocking from a veteran such as Davis, who was in the lineup because rookie Tyler Naquin looked so spooked in Game 6.

So dominant this postseason, Kluber had allowed three earned runs in five postseason starts. He allowed four in four-plus innings Wednesday. The “plus” amounted to one pitch in the fifth inning, which Javier Baez rocketed out to right-center for a 4-1 Chicago lead.

Earlier, the fourth pitch of the night from Kluber was driven over the centerfield wall for a leadoff home run, making Progressive Field sound like Wrigley Field with the hordes of Cubs fans in attendance.

The Indians fought back in the fifth.

Jon Lester, in relief of starter Kyle Hendricks, bounced a curveball that took a big hop and ricocheted off the mask of catcher David Ross, who stumbled trying to get up. Carlos Santana scored easily from third, while Jason Kipnis did his best Kenny Lofton impression and scored all the way from second base to cut the Indians’ deficit in half.

The Indians had new energy. Ross zapped some of it by blasting a solo home run in the top of the sixth.

A team built to grab early leads and protect, the Tribe had to do just the opposite.

The Indians cut their deficit to 6-4 in the eighth inning on Brandon Guyer’s RBI double. Davis, having a tough night at the plate and in the field, stepped up next.

“I’m going up there looking to drive the ball,” Davis said. “A couple of innings before that I went up to the cage. I wasn’t quite feeling right and I kind of found what I needed to do. I went down there and did it.”

Davis, fighting off triple-digit fastballs from Chapman and choking up on his bat at least three inches, lined a 2-2 pitch onto the Home Run Porch down the left field line. The two-run shot tied the game at 6-6 and sent the stadium into delirium.

A historical World Series was setting up for a historical end. A historical year for Cleveland sports looked to be adding another chapter.

And, in a way, it did with this ridiculous run by the Indians, a team that was defined by overcoming the odds and proving doubters wrong.

It just hurts that it didn’t end with the ultimate punctuation.

— You can reach Josh Weir at josh.weir@cantonrep.com or on Twitter @jweirREP.