The Toronto Blue Jays kept their World Series hopes alive by beating visiting Cleveland in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. Tuesday afternoon was the first loss in the postseason for the Indians and the Indians have not lost four in a row all season (so they are still feeling good).
Indians ace Corey Kluber made his first start on three days rest and it showed. He struggled a bit with his command, hanging a curveball with two strikes in the 3rd inning to Josh Donaldson and it quickly went over the outfield wall.
In the 4th inning, Kluber threw seven straight balls before finally throwing a pitch in the strike zone. He walked two straight, and with one out, former Indian Zeke Carrera drove in a run with a single (Kluber ended up striking out the side).
The Indians got a run back in the top of the fifth when former KC Royal Coco Crisp walked, hustled to second base on a wild pitch, and came around to score on a Roberto Perez double.
But they could not do much else against Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez, who allowed just two hits and walked two over six innings. He struck out five.
The Blue Jays tacked on two more runs in the seventh against Bryan Shaw. The inning started with a single, Shaw’s throwing error, and then an intentional walk. Edwin Encarnacion followed with a two-run single.
Former Royal Jose Bautista went 0-for-5 with a strikeout.
The Indians will turn to rookie Ryan Merritt in Game 5 tomorrow afternoon. He made 24 starts with Triple-A Columbus this season (he started the Carolina League All-Star Game back in 2014) and has pitched just 11 innings in the big leagues (all in 2016). Merritt did not walk a batter while striking out six. His lone start came on September 30th (the last time he has pitched) in Kansas City and he won (5IP, 3H, R, 0BB, 4K). Bautista gave the Indians more bulletin board material following tonight’s game (via Ben Nicholson-Smith):
The Blue Jays will start Game 1 starter Marco Estrada, who has been Toronto’s best starter this postseason.
The LA Dodgers won Game 3 in the National League Championship Series, 6-0 over visiting Chicago to take a 2-1 series lead.
The Cubs started reigning CY Young award winner Jake Arrieta and he lasted just five innings (and one batter into the sixth). That batter in the 6th inning was Justin Turner, who hit a solo home run. Arrieta allowed an RBI single to rookie Corey Seager in the third and a two-run homer to Yasmani Grandal in the fourth.
Veteran Rich Hill started for the Dodgers and allowed just two hits and two walks in six scoreless innings. Hill struck out six (he was pitching in independent ball last year). Former Royal Joe Blanton pitched a perfect seventh, throwing 13 pitches.
The Dodgers tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the eighth for insurance against former Royal Mike Montgomery (1IP, 2H, 2R, 0BB, K).
Former Royal Ben Zobrist continues to struggle this postseason, going 0-for-4. Zobrist is hitting just .100 for the Cubs.
Tomorrow night, rookie Julio Urias will get the start for the Dodgers against veteran John Lackey.