MLB Playoffs: Blue Jays top Indians to stave off elimination

MLB Playoffs: Blue Jays top Indians to stave off elimination

TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson homered to give Toronto a long-awaited lead, and the Blue Jays finally broke through with the bats, beating the Cleveland Indians 5-1 on Tuesday to avert a sweep in the AL Championship Series.

The Indians still lead the series 3-1, but Donaldson and a poised Aaron Sanchez handed them their first loss of this postseason. Edwin Encarnacion added a two-run single in the seventh, 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.

Donaldson's solo shot to left-center field off Corey Kluber in the third put the Blue Jays ahead for the first time all series. Sanchez, the American League ERA champion, allowed a run and two hits in six innings, and the bullpen finished with three perfect innings.

Cleveland will try again Wednesday to win to earn its first World Series trip since 1997 when lightly used rookie Ryan Merritt faces Marco Estrada (see full recap).

Dodgers shut out Cubs to take 2-1 series lead
LOS ANGELES -- Rich Hill outpitched reigning Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta, Yasmani Grandal hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Chicago Cubs 6-0 Tuesday night to take a 2-1 NL Championship Series lead.

After winning a big league high 103 games during the regular season and sparking belief they could win the World Series for the first time since 1908, the Cubs have been shut out in consecutive games for the first time this year, managing just six hits -- five of them singles.

Hill, 14 months removed from independent league ball on Long Island, allowed two hits in six innings, struck out six and walked two. Joe Blanton, Grant Dayton and Kenley Jansen finished, giving the Dodgers consecutive postseason shutouts for the first time.

Jose Urias starts Game 4 for the Dodgers on Wednesday and at 20 years, 68 days will become the youngest starting pitcher in postseason history John Lackey starts for the Cubs (see full recap).

Phillies' surprise honor for David Montgomery

Photo: Miles Kennedy

Phillies' surprise honor for David Montgomery

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Phillies officials were conducting a meeting Thursday morning on the executive level of Spectrum Field to discuss plans for an expansion to the minor-league complex.

Just before 9:30 a.m., Dave Buck, the club's executive vice president, asked the group to take a walk over to the complex to look at some of the proposed changes.

It was all a ruse, a little ploy to lure David Montgomery to the other side and to an honor that left even the hardest of baseball men with a tear welling behind their sunglasses.

The Phillies named their indoor training facility in honor of Montgomery in a moving 30-minute ceremony that was attended by ownership, front office officials, many of the team's scouts and every player — including 175 minor leaguers — coach and manager in the organization.

Montgomery, who became club chairman in 2015, knew something was up when he saw the players assembled in uniform in the bullpen at the minor-league complex.

"I saw Odubel (Herrera) standing over there and thought, 'He's at the wrong field,' " Montgomery said after the event. "The next thing I know, Dave Buck is pushing me into the middle of this.

"I was stunned. I'm overwhelmed by what the organization has done."

Montgomery joined the Phillies' sales department in 1971 and eventually rose to club president in 1997. His contributions include a lucrative television deal, Citizens Bank Park and the 2008 World Series title. 

His love for the Phillies started way before that.

"My first memory is going to Connie Mack Stadium when I was about five," Montgomery said. "We had linoleum in our porch in the back in our house in Roxborough. I used to try and slide on the linoleum the way Richie Ashburn would slide into the bases. Then at age 24, I'm literally working with and sitting next to Richie in a cubicle at Veterans Stadium.

"I've just been so fortunate. I've had the opportunity to work for the team I rooted for in the city I've lived in and loved my entire life."

John Middleton, the team's managing partner, spoke during the ceremony. He described Montgomery as "a baseball man" and told the players that the state of the art facilities that they work and train in were the result of Montgomery's vision and commitment to player development. The Carpenter Complex minor-league facility has grown substantially since it was first planned and brought to life in the late 1960s by the late Paul Owens, the legendary Phillies executive for whom the entire complex is named.

Lifelong Phillies Roly deArmas and Larry Bowa spoke from the heart about how Montgomery always put respecting others first.

"David, you are the Phillie Way," Bowa said.

A banner emblazoned with the words David P. Montgomery Baseball Performance Center was unfurled. Montgomery looked at it with a tear in his eye.

"It's not about structures, though I couldn't be more honored," he said.

"It's about people."

Jake Arrieta's fastball pops in Phillies spring debut


Jake Arrieta's fastball pops in Phillies spring debut

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Newly signed Phillies ace Jake Arrieta pitched two innings against the Detroit Tigers in his spring debut with the club Thursday. He gave up three hits and two runs and exited after 31 pitches, 22 of which were strikes.

Wearing No. 49, Arrieta took the mound in his shirtsleeves on a breezy 61-degree day. He struck out the first batter he faced, JaCoby Jones, on three pitches. He also struck out the second hitter, Jeimer Candelario. The next batter, two-time American League MVP Miguel Cabrera, took Arrieta deep when he lined a 2-1 fastball over the rightfield wall. The line drive got a little help from the wind.

Arrieta allowed a single, a double and a run in the second inning. He also threw a wild pitch.

One positive to emerge from the outing: Arrieta's fastball touched 95 mph on the stadium radar gun. He also threw several fastballs the registered 94. Arrieta's fastball velocity had been a concern as it dropped from 94.9 mph in his Cy Young season of 2015 to 92.6 mph last season, according to PITCHf/x data.

Arrieta figures to make at least one more start in Florida, either in a major league or minor league game. The Phillies have not announced when he will step into the regular-season rotation. The pitcher believes he can be ready for the first week of the season.

Pat Neshek followed Arrieta and pitched the third inning.