Lindor homers as Indians race past Jays 2-0 in ALCS opener
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 15, 2016 02:05 PM
Cleveland Indians' Francisco Lindor celebrates after his two-run home run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the sixth inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Championship Series in Cleveland, Friday, Oct. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland ace Corey Kluber silenced Toronto's booming bats and set up a 2-0 win for the Indians in Friday's opening game of the American League Championship Series.
Kluber pitched 6-1/3 spotless innings, and Francisco Lindor hit a two-run homer to give the Indians the early advantage in the best-of-seven series.
Lindor connected in the sixth inning off Marco Estrada as Cleveland won a fourth straight playoff game in this most unexpected season.
Kluber was replaced by Andrew Miller, who struck out five of the six batters he faced, and Cody Allen got the save with a perfect ninth inning.
Toronto slugger Jose Bautista struck out three times and Edwin Encarnacion lost his cool when he was fanned in the eighth, arguing with plate umpire Laz Diaz.
"It wasn't like we faced the average Joe out there," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Kluber. "He's one of the elite pitchers in the game, as is Miller, as is Allen. We got some guys on base early. We couldn't get that big hit."
After getting their first ALCS win since 2007 — and tying their longest postseason win streak since 1920 — the Indians will try to take a 2-0 lead Saturday with Josh Tomlin facing Toronto's 20-game winner, J.A. Happ.
Tomlin was originally scheduled to start Game 3, but was moved up when Trevor Bauer sustained an odd injury as he sliced open his right pinkie while repairing a drone.
Kluber has not allowed a run in 13 1/3 innings this October and he kept the Blue Jays inside Progressive Field after they teed off against the Texas Rangers in the Division Series.
Toronto had some early chances, putting six runners on base in the first three innings. But the Blue Jays failed to come up with a timely hit and lost for the first time in the postseason.
The visitors had two on with one out in the first, but Kluber struck out Bautista and retired Russell Martin on an easy grounder. In the second, Kluber allowed a single and walk before getting Devon Travis to ground into an inning-ending double play. In the third, he gave up a single and a walk with two outs before striking out Martin.
In the sixth, Estrada walked Jason Kipnis with one out. Lindor drove his homer over the wall in right-center, sparking wild celebrations among home fans.
"I thought (Kevin) Pillar was going to catch it," Lindor said. "As soon as it went out, I put my hands out. I looked at the dugout and everybody was going insane."
Estrada pitched Toronto's first complete game all year, but made one costly mistake.
"I was trying to bounce it, to be honest with you," Estrada said. "Good hitters are going to hit it out and he's a good hitter."