The Toronto Blue Jays tore through Texas like the notorious Newton Gang, scoring 22 runs in a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers.
Then they hit Cleveland.
IN GAME ONE OF THE American League Championship Series, the Blue Jays were force fed doses of Indians pitchers Corey Kluber, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen.
They scored zero runs and lost, 2-0, to give the Tribe a one game to none lead in the best of seven event.
The Blue Jays have only themselves to blame for not ridding themselves early of Kluber. The Jays put two runners on base in each of the first, second and third innings and came up with a basket of goose eggs against Kluber, a gorilla in the mist on the mound.
After the first three innings, Kluber, an 18-game winner this year, settled in and sloughed aside the potent Jays effortlessly.
BUT THE WAHOOS didn’t doing much against Toronto starter Marco Estrada, either. Not until the sixth inning, anyway.
Estrada, a change-up artist, walked Jason Kipnis with one out. He misplaced one of those change-ups to 22-year-old Francisco Lindor, a 76 miles an hour offering, and the Tribe’s shortstop delivered a souvenir to fans in right center field, a two-run home run.
And that, to Cleveland manager Terry Francona, meant it was Miller Time. With one out in the seventh, he brought in left hander Andrew Miller, the nearly Invincible Man on the Mound.
Miller struck out the two batters he faced in the seventh, including a called third strike to end the inning on Melvin Upton Jr., who disputed umpire Laz Diaz’s liberal strike zone vehemently.
Miller went back out for the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Josh Donaldson. They he struck out the side — with Edwin Encarnacion vehemently disputing a called third strike even more salaciously than Upton.
That was five strikeouts against the six hitters face by Miller, 10-1 with a 1.45 earned run average during the season for the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians.
All that was left was for Tribe closer Cody Allen to do his thing. He recorded 35 saves in 37 opportunities during the season. And he swept away the Jays in the ninth one-two-three.
ESTRADA PITCHED A complete game, messed up only by the one pitch to Lindor. But the Tribe showed more against him than Texas did. Estrada held Texas left handers to 1 for 12 in his win over the Rangers. Cleveland left handers had five hits, including Lindor’s game-winning home run.
Kluber gave up no runs, six hits, walked two and struck out six over 6 1/3 innings, throwing 71 strikes of his 100 pitches. Miller threw 31 pitches, 21 for strikes.
Meanwhile, Estrada was outstanding during his eight-inning complete game — two runs, six hits, one walk, six strikeouts, 101 pitches and 70 strikes, nearly identical numbers to Kluber’s, except for one pitch that gave the Tribe its fourth straight postseason win after sweeping three straight from Boston in the ALDS.
JOSH TOMLIN PITCHES Game Two Saturay for the Indians, a stand-in for scheduled starter Trevor Bauer, who was pushed back after slicing the top of a finger on his pitching hand that required 10 stitches. How did he do it? Playing with a drone, the first injury of its type in baseball history.
But if he can stay away from his drone, he’ll pitch Game Three in Toronto Monday.