TORONTO -- A most unlikely pitching performance helped put a most unexpected team into the World Series.
Rookie Ryan Merritt coolly delivered a lead to the Andrew Miller-led bullpen and the Cleveland Indians won their first pennant since 1997, blanking Toronto 3-0 Wednesday in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series.
Cleveland, which has never hosted a World Series opener, will play Game 1 at Progressive Field on Tuesday night against either the Chicago Cubs or Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Indians will try to boost what's already been a magical year in Cleveland after LeBron James and the Cavaliers earned the city's first sports championship since 1964. The Indians' title drought dates to 1948.
The Dodgers led the Cubs 2-1 going into Game 4 of the NLCS on Wednesday night. Cleveland didn't play either team this season.
With all of 11 major league innings under his belt, Merritt took the mound and looked just like a seasoned vet. The 24-year-old lefty retired the first 10 batters and allowed only two hits before being pulled after 4 1/3 innings.
Then it was up to Cleveland's tireless relievers to hold a three-run lead.
Miller again did most of the heavy lifting, pitching 2 2/3 innings, and Cody Allen pitched the ninth for the save. Winner Bryan Shaw worked an inning before Miller came in.
Carlos Santana and Coco Crisp homered for the Indians.
The A's proposed waterfront ballpark took another step forward Wednesday.
The California State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 1191, which would allow for the A's to construct a privately financed ballpark at Oakland's Howard Terminal site. The legislation passed 56-0, according to A's president Dave Kaval.
"We still have much work ahead of us, but this is another significant milestone for our club and our city,” Kaval said in a statement Wednesday.
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The bill, authored by Oakland Assemblymember Rob Bonta, will now move to the state senate for consideration.
On May 13, the Port of Oakland's Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a term sheet with the A's that would give the team four years to complete all of the preparatory work needed to lease Howard Terminal. Those steps include securing necessary land use permits and conducting an environmental impact review.
If you glance at the box score for the A's Wednesday matinee matchup against Cleveland, you'll see some full numbers from backup catcher Nick Hundley.
The 35-year-old dominated at the dish in the 7-2 win and series sweep, finishing just a triple shy of the cycle on three hits with a home run and two RBI. This assisted in lifting the A's to the .500 mark for the first time since April 26. He told the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser after his successful day that Oakland is just hitting its stride.
“This is the type of baseball we expect to play,” Hundley said. “We expect to go out there and pitch well, we’ve been playing really good defense and up and down the lineup we have the ability to drive the ball. This is what we envisioned at the start of the season. It isn’t what we were doing at the start of the season, but that doesn’t matter now.”
Hundley is also now 11 for his last 28 in 13 games. Those numbers are night and day compared to how he started the season.
The veteran catcher also admitted he dubbed himself as someone who "wasn't a very good baseball player" during that time.
It appears those days are in the past -- both figuratively and literally. And it couldn't have come at a more opportune time for the A's.
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Slugger Khris Davis has missed multiple games due to a nagging left hip contusion and was left out of Tuesday's lineup. Mark Canha took over designated hitting responsibilities and went 2-for5 with three RBI.
The Green and Gold have now won six in a row. They have an off day Thursday and return to Oakland Friday to begin a nine-game homestand.