Toronto's Sanchez outpitches Kluber, force Game 5 of ALCS

Toby Graves
October 20, 2016

The 33-year-old Mexican tossed his first major-league complete game at Cleveland in Game 1 of this series but took the loss after allowing two runs and six hits in eight frames.

"It's something that could go either way", Bautista said, "but with our experience in our lineup, I'm pretty sure he's gonna be shaking in his boots more than we are". They'll take a 3-1 ALCS lead into Game 5 on Wednesday, when rookie left-hander Ryan Merritt starts against Blue Jays righty Marco Estrada. Cleveland will for Game 5 turn to Ryan Merritt, a 24-year-old with all of 11 major-league innings to his credit.

"They hit better than us, they pitched better than us, they played defense better than us today, so they deserved to win", Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor said. When the teams say every run matters, it's more than cliché. Starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez threw six strong innings for the win, allowing just the one run on two hits and two walks while striking out five. I don't think the first three (losses) were that great, but it was fun to live through that.

"To say that you don't care, I care about the Blue Jays, so", general manager Ross Atkins said when asked if he cared about Ortiz' public lobbying for Encarnacion to come to Boston. Joe Blanton, Grant Dayton and Kenley Jansen finished, giving the Dodgers consecutive postseason shutouts for the first time. Donaldson, the reigning AL MVP and sporting a still freshly shaved face, opened the scoring with his first home run of these playoffs.

Blue Jays reliever Jason Grilli was ideal in the top of the eighth.

"I'm a man of science and the numbers probably don't lie", he said. "It helps when you have a guy like Sanchez in the zone, where you can really focus in on a certain area of the strike zone". "He's definitely a tough guy to score runs against, but we found a way to get a couple today".

The Indians didn't have another baserunner after that.

Brett Cecil pitched a clean seventh. Jason Kipnis is 1-for-15, Jose Ramirez 1-for-13, Carlos Santana 2-for-14, Mike Napoli 2-for-12, Perez 2-for-11 and Naquin 2-for-9. He struck out five and walked two.

The Blue Jays had scored only three runs across the first three games of the best-of-seven series but finally broke the shackles at Rogers Center. Cleveland manager Terry Francona elected to walk Donaldson intentionally, loading the bases with nobody out for Encarnacion.

Given he is down as the Indians Game 7 pitcher, if needed, Francona was loath to work him longer than necessary. Bauer cut his right pinkie on a drone and had to be pulled in the first inning Monday after he started bleeding. "He talked to (pitching coach Mickey Callaway) a little bit about the scouting report this morning". "Not too many people would have done that. He's been wonderful. He's obviously grown over the years because he wanted to".

Of course, 24-year-old righthander Aaron Sanchez, who returned from his 10-day August trip to Class A Dunedin to finish a season in which he led the American League in ERA (3.00) and home run rate (only one for every almost 13 innings pitched), was not demoted for performance reasons.

"If you told me on the first day of the season I would be pitching in the ALCS I might have thought you were insane", Merritt said.

"To get this opportunity is awesome", said Merritt, after Game 4.

After three days of increasingly meek performances in the American League Championship Series, the Toronto Blue Jays managed a victory.

Schilling doesn't appreciate comparisons to Indians' Bauer: Curt Schilling believes his bloody sock shouldn't be compared to Bauer's bloody finger.

There was only one way for the Toronto Blue Jays to keep the Cleveland Indians from turning yet another playoff game into a clinic on championship bullpen usage, only one way to stop Cleveland's sorcerer/manager from mixing and matching his way to another win, only one way to prevent the Indians' left-handed angel of death, Andrew Miller, from materializing on the mound and locking down another lead - and that way, of course, was to keep the Indians from ever taking a lead in the first place.

That led to parallels to Schilling's most memorable performance.

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