In­di­ans down Blue Jays in se­ries opener

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Fran­cisco Lin­dor belted a two-run home run on Fri­day to power the Cleve­land In­di­ans to a 2-0 vic­tory over the Toronto Blue Jays in game one of their Amer­i­can League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries. The home win in Cleve­land gives the In­di­ans the up­per hand in the be­stof-seven se­ries that will send the win­ner to Ma­jor League Base­ball’s World Se­ries.

Start­ing pitcher Corey Klu­ber threw 6 1/3 in­nings for the In­di­ans and com­bined with two re­liev­ers on the seven-hit shutout. Toronto’s Marco Estrada pitched a com­plete game sur­ren­der­ing six hits with five strike­outs and one walk.

The walk put Ja­son Kip­nis on base in the sixth. Estrada then de­liv­ered a 78 mph, 0-2 changeup to Lin­dor that the In­di­ans’ All-Star short­stop belted over the wall in cen­ter field.

“Oh, man, it was un­real,” Lin­dor said, adding that he was ex­pect­ing Toronto cen­ter fielder Kevin Pil­lar was go­ing to make the catch. “As soon as it went out I put my hands out and said, ‘Thank God,’” Lin­dor said. “And I looked at the dugout and ev­ery­body was go­ing in­sane.”

Klu­ber threw 100 pitches, 71 of them strikes. He struck out six and walked two be­fore de­part­ing with one out in the sev­enth.

STRESS­FUL IN­NINGS

By then he’d had to work his way out of trou­ble sev­eral times. The Blue Jays put run­ners on base in each of the first three in­nings, only for Klu­ber to hold them to 0-for-5 with run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion through four frames. “I think their whole lineup is dan­ger­ous,” Klu­ber said of the Blue Jays. “I made some mis­takes early on, and they were able to take ad­van­tage of them for base hits. But it’s re­ally just try­ing to stick with that same ap­proach. Get ahead of them and put them in de­fen­sive counts.

“So, yeah, there were some stress­ful in­nings early on, but it wasn’t like the wheels were spin­ning kind of thing. I was do­ing a good job of get­ting ahead in the count, I just didn’t make good pitches once I was there, so it was just try­ing to fix that is­sue.”

Klu­ber de­parted to chants of ap­pre­ci­a­tion from the crowd, An­drew Miller tak­ing over with one out in the sev­enth. Clos­ing pitcher Cody Allen pitched the ninth to record the save.

Game two is on Satur­day in Cleve­land, when the In­di­ans send Josh Tom­lin to the mound and the Blue Jays give the ball to J.A. Happ.

The win­ner of the se­ries will duel in the World Se­ries against ei­ther the Chicago Cubs or Los An­ge­les Dodgers, who open the Na­tional League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries on Satur­day.

The Cubs, the best team in base­ball in the reg­u­lar sea­son, are vy­ing to end a World Se­ries drought that stretches back to 1908.

But they’re not the only club out to end a sig­nif­i­cant dry spell. Cleve­land haven’t won the World Se­ries since 1948, the Dodgers since 1988. Of the four teams still stand­ing, Toronto won it all most re­cently, tak­ing back-to-back World Se­ries ti­tles in 1992 and 1993.

—AFP

CLEVE­LAND: Michael Saun­ders #21 of the Toronto Blue Jays re­acts af­ter strik­ing out in the ninth in­ning against Cody Allen #37 of the Cleve­land In­di­ans dur­ing game one of the Amer­i­can League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries at Pro­gres­sive Field on Fri­day in Cleve­land, Ohio.

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