Tribe Holds Jays to Three Hits in Big Game 2 Win; Indians 2, Blue Jays 1
Bob Toth | On 15, Oct 2016
Cleveland pitching held the Toronto offense to just three hits and a third inning two-out RBI-single from Francisco Lindor proved to be the difference as the Indians took Game 2 of the ALCS from the Blue Jays, 2-1, on Saturday afternoon.
In what looked to be another dangerous matchup for Josh Tomlin against another team built on the home run ball, the Indians’ veteran right-hander stood up strong to the task and kept the Blue Jays in the yard. Cleveland could not do much against 20-game winner J.A. Happ, but the runs that they got were enough for a big victory to keep home field advantage in the Tribe’s favor.
The Indians did not wait as long to score on Saturday as they had during Game 1 on Friday, but the method of run support for Tomlin was the same. Leading off the second inning, Carlos Santana stepped in against Happ and shot a laser just over the wall in left field for a solo home run to give the Indians the early one-run lead.
The Jays evened things up with their first run of the ALCS in the third inning. Kevin Pillar grounded out before Darwin Barney reached with a single to center. Ezequiel Carrera grounded out for the second out, moving Barney up into scoring position before Josh Donaldson lined a double the opposite way to right. Barney scored easily to make it a 1-1 game. The inning was far from over for Tomlin, now dealing with the heart of the order. Edwin Encarnacion worked a walk to put two on for Jose Bautista, but the big time slugger struck out swinging to end the threat.
Roberto Perez walked to lead off the home half of the third before he was forced out at second base on a grounder to short by Rajai Davis, who legged out the fielder’s choice to prevent a double play. His speed showed again as he picked off second base on the first pitch from Happ to Jason Kipnis and he was able to move up to third on a wild pitch from Happ that skipped just far enough away from catcher Russell Martin to allow Davis to advance. With the infield back in their normal spots, Kipnis flied to shallow left, but Lindor delivered his third RBI of the series with a first pitch single back up the middle to score Davis while giving Cleveland a 2-1 edge.
After the walk to Encarnacion, Tomlin was locked in on the mound. He set the side down in order in the fourth, striking out Martin and Michael Saunders to end the inning. He repeated the effort in the fifth, retiring Pillar himself on a grounder between the mound and first base before striking out Barney and Carrera. Tomlin pushed his streak to nine straight set down in order to start the sixth, getting Donaldson to ground to short and Encarnacion to fly to center before he walked Bautista with his last pitch of the ball game.
With the tying run on, manager Terry Francona went to his bullpen and brought in Bryan Shaw, who got Troy Tulowitzki to ground back to the mound. It started the continued impressive relief work from Tribe pitching in the postseason, as Andrew Miller worked the seventh and eighth innings, striking out five in the process. Cody Allen worked the ninth, setting down Encarnacion and Bautista on strikes before Tulowitzki flied to Davis in center to end the game.
The win gave the Indians a substantial 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series with each of the next three games scheduled to be played in Toronto, if necessary. Progressive Field will host Game 6 and Game 7 next Friday and Saturday if the Blue Jays push the series to that length.
TOMLIN TAKES CHARGE
Tomlin’s efforts on the mound to contain the Toronto lineup were overshadowed by the continued unreal performance of Miller out of the ‘pen, but the Tribe righty’s contribution should not go overlooked.
Working several days earlier than expected after being moved up to Game 2’s starter, Tomlin was not able to follow his usual routine between starts, but one would have never known it with the way he pitched on the biggest stage of his career. He worked five and two-thirds innings, allowing just one run on three hits. He walked two, but struck out six batters while earning his second win in as many postseason starts.
HAPP GOES FIVE AGAIN
Happ took the loss after allowing just two runs on four hits on the afternoon. He walked one and struck out four. It was his second straight start of five innings in the postseason, but he kept the traffic on the bases far more in check against Cleveland than he had against Texas. He gave up nine hits and a walk against the Rangers while allowing half that total against the Indians.
He was dealt his first career playoff loss in his tenth outing and is now 1-1 in the 2016 postseason with a 2.70 ERA.
MILLER EXTENDS SCORELESS STREAK
Miller has become one of the biggest weapons on any postseason staff this October and flexed his left arm muscles again with two innings of scoreless, hitless relief.
In 16 career postseason innings over a span of ten games, Miller has not allowed a run. He has 27 strikeouts against the 55 batters that he has faced and has struck out 17 batters this postseason for the Indians, including ten against the Blue Jays through the first two games of the ALCS.
LINDOR GIVES A LIFT
Lindor had two hits on the afternoon, including his third inning single that delivered the deciding run. It gave him three straight multi-hit games in the postseason and five RBI in the playoffs.
The Indians set a new franchise best on Saturday with their win as it gave the club five consecutive postseason wins for the first time in team history.
Toronto put on a power display during the ALDS, hitting eight home runs on the way to 22 runs scored in the three-game series. The Indians pitching staff has limited them to just a run and ten hits over 18 innings. Just two of those hits have gone for extra bases.
TRAVIS DONE FOR SEASON
Toronto second baseman Devon Travis, who exited Friday’s game in the fifth inning with a right knee injury, is done for the postseason after the Blue Jays were granted a roster substitution for the injured infielder. First baseman Justin Smoak was added to the bench in his place.
ON THE MOVE
Both teams will take Sunday off as the series moves to Toronto’s Rogers Centre.
Marcus Stroman will start for the Blue Jays in Game 3 on Monday night. He was 9-10 on the year for the Blue Jays with a 4.10 ERA and made two starts against Cleveland – both no-decisions – while allowing just two runs on 12 hits and two walks in 14 innings of work, striking out 15.
Trevor Bauer is expected to start for the Indians, but is dealing with a lacerated right pinkie finger that required stitches in an off-the-field accident on Thursday. He was 12-8 during the season for the Indians with a 4.26 ERA while working in both relief and as a starter. He faced the Blue Jays twice, posting a 1.38 ERA and 0.92 WHIP after giving up two runs on seven hits with five walks and 16 strikeouts. His lone win against them came after throwing five innings of scoreless relief in the 19-inning game between the two clubs at the end of the Indians’ 14-game winning streak.
First pitch from Rogers Centre on Monday is scheduled for 8:00 PM ET.
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