Blue Jays stave off ALCS elimination, beat Indians

Jose Bautista

With all of 11 major league innings under his belt, Merritt took the mound and looked just like a seasoned vet. That's saying something, considering what he accomplished in 2004, when he steered the Boston Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years.

Cleveland has won nine straight games dating to the regular season. But Miller is thriving in part because of Francona's willingness to buck convention and use him in the highest-leverage situations, regardless of inning.

Merritt gave up just two hits and struck out three in 4 1/3 innings.

Cleveland will try again Wednesday to win to earn its first World Series trip since 1997, but the big concern for the Indians coming into the series - an injury-riddled rotation - still lingers.

Edwin Encarnacion later hit a two-run single, a welcome sight for a raucous Rogers Centre crowd that had fallen silent watching its team reach the brink of elimination because of a slumbering offense. And while some might argue the Indians lost because the Blue Jays are also good and sometimes teams just lose, their defeat came in a time of inevitable clubhouse tumult after manager Terry Francona insulted third baseman Jose Ramirez's generally unobjectionable hair.

TORONTO — The Blue Jays are running out of time to fix their startling power outage in the AL Championship Series. "I made a mistake to Donaldson", Kluber said. If you do go there to interact with Blue Jays or Indians fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular. They are unbeaten in six playoff games this year and can complete their second consecutive sweep on Tuesday.

Toronto rallied from a 0-2 deficit to beat Texas in last years ALDS, then fell behind 0-2 to Kansas City in the ALCS before losing the series in six games.

Live stream: As we move into the playoffs, each of the games will be carried on national broadcasts, which means much wider access to live stream (though many will require cable subscriptions).

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Mike Napoli's double off of Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada put Cleveland on top in the first inning. The 24-year-old lefty retired the first 10 batters and allowed a mere two hits before being pulled after 4 ⁄3 innings.

After Bauer left with two down and two on in the first, the final 25 Toronto outs were distributed as follows: four each for Dan Otero and Jeff Manship, three for Zach McAllister, five each for Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen, and four for Miller. After Russell Martin's bloop single with one out in the fifth, Francona leaned again on a bullpen that soaked up 8 ⁄3 innings in a Game 3 win Monday.

Shaw pitched an inning, and Miller came on with one out in the sixth and a runner on.

So, too, did Francisco Lindor. Moore pitched seven scoreless innings that day.

"Obviously, he needs to heal, but he can't just not throw", Francona said. He'd been pushed back two days to Game 3 after cutting his finger last week repairing one of the drones he enjoys flying as a hobby.

Cleveland's dynamic young shortstop was the best position player in the series for either team and would have won the ALCS MVP if not for Miller's historic dominance.

Blue Jays: Toronto faces an uncertain offseason after making the postseason as a wild card.