Blue Jays stave off ALCS elimination, beat Indians 5-1
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 19, 2016 09:42 AM
Toronto Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson celebrates after a home run off Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber during the third inning in Game 4 of baseball's American League Championship Series in Toronto, Tuesday Oct. 18, 2016.(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)TORONTO (AP) — Toronto stayed alive in the American League Championship Series by beating Cleveland 5-1 on Tuesday, led by a strong performance by starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez.
Staring at elimination after losing the first three games in the best-of-seven series, Toronto responded as Sanchez allowed only one run in six innings, and his relievers did not allow any runners on base.
Josh Donaldson homered to give Toronto a long-awaited lead and Edwin Encarnarcion drove in two runs as the slumbering big bats of the Blue Jays lineup awoke after having scored only three runs across the opening three games.
Cleveland will try again Wednesday to win and reach its first World Series trip since 1997, but the big concern for the Indians coming into the series — an injury-riddled rotation — still lingers.
Corey Kluber was starting on three days' rest for the first time in his career, and in Game 5 Cleveland will send lightly used rookie Ryan Merritt to the mound against Marco Estrada.
Kluber hadn't allowed a run in either of his first two starts this postseason but Donaldson, the reigning AL MVP, opened the scoring in the third inning with his first home run of these playoffs.
The Blue Jays made it 2-0 in the fourth when Ezequiel Carrera's mistimed hit fell between three Cleveland fielders in left-center.
Roberto Perez drove in Cleveland's first run in the fifth. Carlos Santana's two-out grounder to the left looked like scoring Perez for the tying run, but Donaldson made an outstanding sliding stop.
The Indians didn't have another baserunner after that, and their nine-game winning streak ended.
Cleveland was trying to become the third team to sweep a Division Series and Championship Series in the same postseason. Colorado did it in 2007 and Kansas City in 2014.
The Blue Jays added two more runs in the seventh after a throwing error. Encarnacion came up with the bases loaded and his hard hit skipped off the mound and into center field to make it 4-1.