The Cleveland Indians are a win away from the MLB World Series after silencing the Toronto Blue Jays in game three.
It was business as usual for the Indians as they claimed a 4-2 win for a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series.
After losing starting pitcher Trevor Bauer in the first inning because his lacerated finger started gushing blood on Monday, the Indians got another great performance by their bullpen to stifle Toronto's mighty line-up at Rogers Centre.
INDIANS CONTINUE ROYALS' BULLPEN MODEL
Sprung into action early after Bauer's premature exit, Cleveland's bullpen continued their dominant ways by giving up just two runs in a little more than eight innings. The Indians, who entered Monday's game with a 1.60 postseason ERA, best among MLB teams this postseason, used six different pitchers after Bauer's departure. Some teams might have been thrown off by the sudden change in game plan, but Francona made sure his bullpen was ready to perform.
Cody Allen, the team's closer, came into the game in the seventh inning and once again held the Blue Jays scoreless (thanks to a great catch by Coco Crisp). Allen had not pitched in the seventh inning since 2014. He also recorded two outs in the eighth inning. Andrew Miller, who struck out three batters in the final 1 1/3 innings, has not allowed a run in 17 1/3 postseason innings throughout his career.
Heading into Monday's game, Mike Napoli was zero for 9 against Marcus Stroman; however he quickly rectified that with an RBI double in the first inning and a home run in the top of the fourth. Napoli became just the fifth person to record a postseason home run with four different teams. Jason Kipnis had been struggling since posting three hits, a home run and two RBIs in game one against the Boston Red Sox last series, but he regained his form with a line-drive home run in the sixth inning.
What has happened to Toronto's bats? Despite playing in a series against a team virtually without three of their four best starting pitchers, the Blue Jays have mustered just three runs in three games. Josh Donaldson has largely been consistent, but the rest of the talented line-up has been conspicuous in their absence. Edwin Encarnacion went zero for four with three runners left on base. He has now failed to record a hit in his last two games. Jose Bautista, who batted leadoff Monday, has recorded just one hit all series.
WORLD SERIES LOOMS FOR INDIANS
The Indians are flying high. Can they be stopped?
BLUE JAYS FIGHT TO STAY ALIVE
The equation is simple for the Blue Jays on Tuesday, lose and you are out. Aaron Sanchez will take to the mound against Corey Kluber. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs are also in action.