Lin­dor’s homer lifts In­di­ans

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Tom Withers

CLEVE­LAND >> Fran­cisco Lin­dor hit a two-run homer and Corey Klu­ber si­lenced Toronto’s boom­ing bats, giv­ing the Cleve­land In­di­ans a 2-0 win over the Blue Jays in Game 1 of the AL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries on Fri­day night.

Lin­dor con­nected in the sixth in­ning off Marco Estrada and raced around the bases like a track star as the bend-but-don’t-break In­di­ans won their fourth straight play­off game in this most un­ex­pected sea­son.

Klu­ber, Cleve­land’s solid and stoic ace, pitched 6 1/3 spot­less in­nings be­fore man­ager Terry Fran­cona turned things over to the In­di­ans’ best weapon — their bullpen.

An­drew Miller struck out five of the six bat­ters he faced and Cody Allen got the save with a per­fect ninth.

Toronto slug­ger Jose Bautista struck out three times and Ed­win En­car­na­cion lost his cool when he was fanned in the eighth, jaw­ing at plate um­pire Laz Diaz.

Af­ter get­ting their first ALCS win since 2007 — and ty­ing their long­est post­sea­son win streak since 1920 — the In­di­ans will try to take a 2-0 lead Satur­day with Josh Tom­lin fac­ing Toronto’s 20game win­ner, J.A. Happ.

Tom­lin was orig­i­nally sched­uled to start Game 3, but was moved up when Trevor Bauer sus­tained an odd in­jury as he sliced open his right pinkie while re­pair­ing a drone.

Klu­ber kept fly­ing in the post­sea­son.

The right-han­der has not al­lowed a run in 13 1/3 in­nings this Oc­to­ber and he kept the Blue Jays in­side Pro­gres­sive Field af­ter they teed off against the Texas Rangers in the Divi­sion Se­ries.

Toronto had some early chances, putting six run­ners on in the first three in­nings. But the Blue Jays failed to come up with a timely hit and lost for the first time in the post­sea­son.

Estrada car­ried a four-hit shutout into the sixth be­fore walk­ing Ja­son Kip­nis with one out. Lin­dor was in an 0-2 hole be­fore the short­stop, who could be­come a house­hold name be­fore this se­ries ends, drove his homer over the wall in right-cen­ter.

Lin­dor pumped his fist as he rounded first and he didn’t stop smil­ing or slow down un­til he crossed home plate.

Klu­ber dodged some early trou­ble and held the Blue Jays, who hit eight home runs and scored 22 times in their ALDS sweep of Texas, to six hits in the first six in­nings. The In­di­ans needed ev­ery out they could get from Klu­ber, who shut out Bos­ton for seven in­nings in his post­sea­son de­but 10 days af­ter he in­jured a quadri­ceps in a start against Detroit.

The 2014 AL Cy Young Award win­ner, who will cer­tainly get votes this sea­son af­ter win­ning 18 games, has been the only de­pend­able starter all sea­son for Cleve­land, which lost starters Car­los Car­rasco and Danny Salazar to in­juries in Septem­ber and are now deal­ing with Bauer’s mishap.

Klu­ber walked a tightrope over the first three in­nings, when the Blue Jays mounted what turned into idle threats.

Toronto had two on with one out in the first, but Klu­ber struck out Bautista and re­tired Rus­sell Martin on an easy grounder. The right-han­der was on shaky ground again in the sec­ond, al­low­ing a sin­gle and walk be­fore get­ting Devon Travis to ground into an in­nin­gend­ing dou­ble play. In the third, Klu­ber gave up a sin­gle and a walk with two outs be­fore strik­ing out Martin.

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