Monday, October 17, 2016
BLUE JAYS ON THE BRINK OF ELIMINATION
It was more of the same for the Jays, their bats rendered near useless by Cleveland pitching. Toronto has scored just three runs in three games against the Indians, who have done just enough offensively to win.
Star reliever Andrew Miller, who had struck out 10 of the 12 Jays he faced in the first two games, came on with four outs remaining. He got a strikeout to end the eighth but gave up a single to pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro to open the ninth.
Miller struck out Kevin Pillar and Melvin Upton Jr. and Darwin Barney grounded out to extinguish the rally.
Napoli, who came in the game mired in an 0-for-25 drought against right-handers, homered and doubled. Jason Kipnis also had a solo homer for the Indians.
Michael Saunders homered for Toronto, which is now in do-or-die mode for the rest of the best-of-seven series. Both teams had seven hits.
Cleveland pulled ahead 4-2 with two runs in the sixth. The Jays have yet to lead in the series.
Bauer, playing with 10 stitches in his right pitching pinky after a freak drone repair accident last Thursday, lasted just two outs and 21 pitches. Blood was dripping from his unbandaged finger like a faucet and his uniform was stained with crimson drops when umpire Brian Gorman walked out to the mound and summoned Indians manager Terry Francona for a pitcher who wasn't leaking red.
Even before the game, Bauer's finger looked like someone had taken a razor-sharp ice-cream scoop to it. But the 25-year-old seemed unfazed, using his right hand to flex a whippy exercise bar outside the Indians dugout.
Bauer had a strikeout, walk, flyout and walk before making his bloody exit. He only managed nine strikes.
Dan Otero came on in relief, the first of six Cleveland relievers. Bryan Shaw (1-0) got the win.
The Indians have won nine straight dating back to the end of the regular season while extending their franchise-record post-season streak to six victories.
Toronto used four pitchers in relief of starter Marcus Stroman (0-1). Closer Roberto Osuna had men on first and second with one out in the ninth but pitched out of it.
Game 4 goes Tuesday with Toronto's Aaron Sanchez against Indians ace Corey Kluber, pitching on three days rest. Francona had planned to go with rookie Ryan Merritt if Bauer had managed to pitch deep into Tuesday's game.