Toronto 5, Cleveland 1
Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario
TORONTO – (Wire Service Report) – The Toronto Blue Jays finally got their bats working. Aaron Sanchez and the bullpen took care of the rest, and Toronto is still alive in the American League Championship Series after defeating the Cleveland Indians 5-1 Tuesday afternoon.
Cleveland leads the best-of-seven series 3-1 and could clinch a World Series berth by winning Game 5 at Rogers Centre on Wednesday afternoon. Marco Estrada will pitch for Toronto, with Cleveland going with rookie Ryan Merritt.
“We’re still alive, no doubt,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “Even through the struggles of the last few games where they outplayed us and shut us down, I mean, it was the same guys, just weren’t getting the results.”
Josh Donaldson hit a solo homer, and Edwin Encarnacion had a two-run single. Sanchez (1-0) allowed two hits and one run in six innings. He struck out five and walked two. Toronto relievers Brett Cecil, Jason Grilli and Roberto Osuna allowed no baserunners over the final three innings. Donaldson spoke to his teammates during a team meeting before the game.
“Everybody knew coming into today how important today was,” Donaldson said. “But at the same time, I just wanted to kind of reiterate that and let the boys know I was coming to play today.”
Cleveland right-hander Corey Kluber (1-1), starting on three days’ rest for the first time in his career, allowed two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out seven in five innings. The runs were the first he allowed this postseason.
“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. “Their hitters looked a lot better today, a lot more comfortable.”
The Blue Jays took a 1-0 lead on the first homer of this postseason by Donaldson with two outs in the third. An RBI single by Ezequiel Carrera gave Toronto a 2-0 lead in the fourth. The flare to center came with one out after Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin opened the inning with consecutive walks.