Josh Tomlin baffled Blue Jays batters for almost six innings and Andrew Miller blew them away as the Cleveland Indians edged Toronto 2-1 on Saturday to take a 2-0 lead in the AL Championship Series.
Carlos Santana homered off J.A. Happ and Francisco Lindor had an RBI single for the Indians.
The Blue Jays put J.A. Happ on the mound, who has a 1.80 ERA from his appearance against the Texas Rangers, giving up nine hits but just one run in five innings of work, striking out 5 in that game. The UCLA product enjoyed one of his best starts against Toronto on August 19, when he allowed two runs in eight innings and struck out a career-high 13. His two innings were followed by a 1-2-3 inning from Cody Allen, who whiffed Encarnacion and Bautista before getting Tulowitzki to fly to centerfield. The Indians beat the Blue Jays 2-1 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven ALCS.
Blue Jays 2B Devon Travis is done for the postseason with a right knee injury he aggravated during Game 1.
Travis was replaced by first baseman Justin Smoak, meaning Travis is ineligible for the ALCS and World Series if the Blue Jays advance.
After the Blue Jays scored in the top of the third via a Darwin Barney single and a Josh Donaldson double-his 12th hit and sixth double of the postseason, both Major League Baseball highs-the Indians retook the lead in the third. More than half the time - 34 times to be exact - he struck out the batter with his next pitch.
Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin pitched 5 2/3 innings to get the win. "It would be nice to jump out and get a lead early but that hasn't been the case", Donaldson told Israel Fehr of Yahoo Sports. Of the six Jays batters Miller faced Saturday night, five struck out; Ezequiel Carrera deserved a Nobel Prize for making enough contact to weakly ground out to second on the first pitch he saw in the 8th. However, if the Tribe can win 2 more games, they will be headed to their first World Series since 1997.
"Kluber is one of the elite pitchers in the game", Gibbons added. "He's hurt pretty good", Gibbons mused out loud prior to Saturday's game.
Mike Vorkunov's post-ALDS feature detailed the hoops Cleveland's front office went through to acquire Miller, including convincing a dubious owner that shooting the moon with a huge package of prospects made sense for a guy who might not even pitch in the ninth inning.
If you were to create a pitcher in MLB: The Show and pump up all his stats to cartoonish levels, he wouldn't be as good as Andrew Miller. The best OPS in the first three innings of any playoff team since 2010 (minimum 2 games) was.940 by the 2011 Arizona Diamondbacks.
Playoff predictions Devon's Knee: Devon Travis was scratched from Game 2 of the Division Series with a bone bruise in his right knee. Game 3 is Monday in Toronto. I think balancing that, ultimately that's probably the toughest thing, because we are exhausted, we've all played a lot, it's been a long year for everybody.
Josh Donaldson believes the Blue Jays can break through against Cleveland's bullpen.
The speed component that many felt could be a difference-maker in this series, paid off in the winning run for the Indians on Saturday.