CLEVELAND — OK, this wasn’t the way the Cubs would have scripted their first World Series game since 1945.

But it’s no time to panic.

Deep inside Progressive Field here, painted on the wall of a narrow stairwell used by stadium workers, is a quote from the Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller, who threw the most feared fastball of the 1940s and ‘50s:

“Every day is a new opportunity. That’s the way life is, and that’s the way baseball is.”

Having lost Game 1 to the Indians, 6-0, on Tuesday night, the Cubs will seek new opportunity Wednesday in Game 2. Until then, their march to turn 108 years of World Series futility is stuck on seven wins down, four to go. Totally achievable with as many as six Series games remaining and with the added intrigue of having Kyle Schwarber’s powerful bat back in the lineup.

What happened to the Cubs in Game 1 is called Corey Kluber.

The Indians’ starting pitcher was so pinpoint perfect, all the Cubs could do for the first three innings was look at his pitches and walk away. Eight strikeouts in the first nine outs – a World Series record previously held by Bob Gibson, Orlando Hernandez and Randy Johnson – and only twice did Cubs swing and miss at strike three. The rest were classic punch-outs.

And the Cubs knew. Those pitches sailed up there looking like they’d be balls – high, low, inside, outside – and then they’d dart into the strike zone.

Few top-line pitchers throw a straight fastball, unless it’s come-hit-me 100 mph stuff. They have to change locations, alter speeds slightly and grip it in different ways to create movement.

Kluber’s two-seamer spins to the plate, profanities flying off the seams as if spittle in the batters’ eyes. It starts wide left, then backs up over the plate, causing the batter to give up on it an instant before the ball cuts into the zone.

“Dominant as one could be,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “He hit his spots, didn’t make mistakes. That’s what good pitchers do.”

The question now is whether the Cubs’ scoreless offense Tuesday was merely a Kluber concoction, or something more troubling is back at work.

If you’re the optimistic sort, you look at the Cubs’ handful of hits and make the case that solid contact was made. Ben Zobrist, who would finish the night with three hits, lined a double into the right-center field gap his first time up. Schwarber bombed a double off the wall in the same area. David Ross made the most of a nice at-bat in the third and wound up with a solid single to left.

Despite the strikeouts, the Cubs weren’t flailing, and they weren’t impatient. They were trying to work the ball-strike counts in their favor. But with Kluber not missing, and with his pitches as deceptive as they were, the Cubs didn’t get much to hit.

“We had good at-bats,” Rizzo said. “We keep doing that, we’ll be all right.”

Another reason to be optimistic about the Cubs is Schwarber, who had five home runs in the 2015 postseason. He blew out a knee in April and was declared done for the year.

All season long, his teammates watched with admiration as Schwarber rehabbed. They talk about showing up for games at Wrigley Field and being greeted by Schwarber, soaked with sweat from four or five hours of workouts in the weight room with the training staff.

“None of us really thought we’d seem in play until spring training,” pitcher Jake Arrieta said.

Doctors surprisingly cleared Schwarber to hit just six days ago, and the Cubs sent him to Arizona Fall League. There, Schwarber estimated he “tracked about 1300 pitches off a pitching machine” in addition to facing live pitchers in a pair of Fall League games.

The Cubs liked what they saw and activated him. Manager Joe Maddon put him in the lineup for Game 1, hitting fifth between Zobrist and Javy Baez.

Schwarber’s at-bats were strong. He struck out in the second inning, but had good rips at the ball. In the fourth, he hit that double off the wall. In the seventh, after a leadoff single by Zobrist, Schwarber worked a full count and took a walk off reliever Andrew Miller, who has been untouchable in the postseason.

Then came the game’s clinching moment. Bryant walked and Zobrist got his third hit of the night with two out, bringing Schwarber to the plate. One swing could tie the game. On a 2-2 pitch, Miller fooled him with a slider, about 8-10 mph slower than the previous pitch, and Schwarber whiffed.

Despite the loss, it was not a lost night for the Cubs.

Wednesday brings another night and a new opportunity.

— Kirk Wessler is Journal Star sports editor. Contact him at kwessler@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @KirkWessler.