Cleveland 4, Toronto 2
When: 8:00 PM ET, Monday, October 17, 2016
Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto
TORONTO – (Wire Service Report) – The Cleveland Indians looked to be in trouble when starting pitcher Trevor Bauer left the game in the first inning Monday night. Manager Terry Francona was forced to turn the game over to the bullpen. It turned out that the game was in good hands.
Mike Napoli hit a home run and an RBI double, and the Indians defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 to take a three-games-to-none lead in the American League Championship Series.
After six relievers held the Blue Jays to two runs, the Indians will aim for a sweep of the best-of-seven set on Tuesday at Rogers Centre. Game 1 winner Corey Kluber will start for Cleveland against Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez.
“Tito (Francona) did a masterful job of running that bullpen today,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “They shut us down. I’m not going to get into who did what, this or that. But they did a great job going through a number of guys and did a good job of shutting us down.”
Jason Kipnis also homered for Cleveland, while Michael Saunders went deep for Toronto.
Bauer left the game after with two outs in the first inning following his second walk, as his previously injured right pinky finger began bleeding while he was on the mound. The Cleveland bullpen allowed only seven hits, and Bryan Shaw (1-0) earned the win after yielding just two hits in 1 2/3 scoreless innings. He struck out two.
Terry Francona (r)
“That wasn’t the way we drew it up,” Francona said. “But our bullpen, that’s one of the most amazing jobs I’ve ever seen. … If anybody has a hiccup, we probably lose. And (we) made all the pitches against some really good hitters.”
Napoli said of Cleveland’s relievers, “For them to come in and pitch the way they did, it’s pretty unbelievable. It’s the reason we were able to win that game, especially a lot of those guys, they haven’t pitched in a long time. We had a simulated game before we left to come (to Toronto). For them to step in, I think you have to give a lot of credit to Roberto Perez behind the plate being able to get those guys to execute pitches.”