In­di­ans on brink as Blue Jays downed

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

TORONTO: The Cleve­land In­di­ans over­came the loss of start­ing pitcher Trevor Bauer to de­feat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 and move to the brink of a place in Ma­jor League Base­ball’s World Se­ries on Mon­day.

Bauer was re­moved with blood drip­ping from a fin­ger wound after stitches to an in­jury sus­tained last week split open in the first in­ning at the Rogers Cen­ter. But the in­jury did not pre­vent the In­di­ans from pow­er­ing to vic­tory, giving them a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Amer­i­can League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries and leav­ing them firmly on course for the World Se­ries. Vet­eran first base­man Mike Napoli was in­stru­men­tal in the Cleve­land win, dou­bling off Blue Jays pitcher Mar­cus Stro­man to al­low Car­los San­tana to open the scor­ing at the top of the first be­fore hit­ting a homer in the fourth. “I’ve been strug­gling a lit­tle bit but I’m a grinder,” Napoli said. “I knew I’d be back, just worked hard in the cage and it paid off tonight.”

The Blue Jays hit back at the bot­tom of the sec­ond when Michael Saun­ders smashed a fly ball to left field off Danny Otero to make it 1-1. Napoli re­stored Cleve­land’s ad­van­tage at the top of the fourth, smack­ing a fly ball to cen­ter field for an­other home run off Stro­man to make it 2-1. But Toronto hit back when Eze­quiel Car­rera scam­pered through for a triple off a sharp line drive. Car­rera then raced over for the score after Ryan Goins ground out off Zach McAl­lis­ter.

Cleve­land re­gained the lead at the top of the sixth and once again Stro­man was the vic­tim, the Blue Jays pitcher go­ing for his third home run of the night with Ja­son Kip­nis hit­ting a line drive to right cen­ter field.

A Jose Ramirez sin­gle off Joe Bi­agini then al­lowed Napoli to come home for an ad­di­tional run and make it 4-2 head­ing into the sev­enth in­ning. Napoli paid trib­ute to the response of the In­di­ans bullpen, forced to im­pro­vise after the early de­par­ture of Bauer.

“For our bullpen to step up like that to­day is the only rea­son we were able to win to­day,” Napoli said. “For them to do it like that was un­be­liev­able.” Team-mate Kip­nis mean­while re­vealed the team had been brac­ing for Bauer to break down at some point. “Trevor got a lit­tle leak. A cou­ple of us had seen the wound and knew it was a pos­si­bil­ity. But we were still con­fi­dent that we could do with it our bullpen,” Kip­nis said. “We’re hav­ing a blast-you can see the smiles in the team.”

Game four in the se­ries takes place in Toronto on Tuesday, with the In­di­ans aim­ing for their first World Se­ries ap­pear­ance since 1997, when they were beaten by the Florida Mar­lins in a seven-game thriller. — AFP

TORONTO: Toronto Blue Jays’ Kevin Pil­lar, right, steals sec­ond past Cleve­land In­di­ans short­stop Fran­cisco Lin­dor dur­ing the sev­enth in­ning in Game 3 of base­ball’s Amer­i­can League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries in Toronto, Mon­day. — AP

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