If the Red Sox were favorites to win, it's news to the Indians.
The Tribe took a 2-0 series lead Friday behind Corey Kluber's seven shutout innings, defeating the Sox 6-0 in Game 2 to move one win away from their first ALCS appearance since 2007. The series now moves to Boston, where the two teams will play Game 3 on Sunday.
After the bullpen helped hold onto the lead in Game 1, Kluber did most of the heavy lifting Friday. The American League Cy Young candidate gave up three hits, all singles, and walked three while striking out seven over his seven scoreless frames.
On offense, Lonnie Chisenhall hit a three-run homer, and Brandon Guyer went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. The Indians knocked around David Price, who allowed five runs over 3 1/3 innings. Price is now 2-8 in 10 postseason starts in his career.
Kluber fared much better in his first postseason outing. He hadn't pitched since leaving his start on September 26 with a mild quadriceps injury, but he showed no signs of it Friday.
He sure did.
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Baez, Lester Help Cubs Edge Giants
It was one mistake, one poorly located pitch in a sea of otherwise perfectly executed offerings, but one mistake was all it took.
The Giants and Cubs -- or, perhaps more accurately, Johnny Cueto and Jon Lester -- were locked in a scoreless duel in the eighth inning when Javier Baez crushed a Cueto fastball that, because of the notorious Chicago wind, snuck over the left field wall to give the Cubs a 1-0 win Friday. Aroldis Chapman came on to get the save, giving the Cubs the first game of the best-of-five series.
Cueto allowed just three hits all night, striking out 10 in the dominant effort. But Baez turned around Cueto's 109th pitch of the game, and the right-hander used 118 to get through his eight innings in the complete-game loss.
On the other side, Lester yielded just five hits while striking out five over his eight innings of work. A pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth, along with one of the game's most dominant closers lurking, ended his evening after 86 pitches despite his brilliance.
It's hard to believe we won't see a well-rested Jake Arrieta until Monday's Game 3 in San Francisco -- against Madison Bumgarner, in another amazing pitching matchup -- but that's the case, with 16-game-winner Kyle Hendricks taking on Jeff Samardzija in Game 2.
Dodgers Best Nats In Underwhelming Ace-Off
An anticipated showdown of aces disappointed in Game 1 of the Dodgers-Nationals series.
Clayton Kershaw against Max Scherzer was, on paper, the marquee matchup of Friday's four-game slate, but both pitchers struggled, relatively, in a game that saw all the scoring come in the first four innings. Kershaw earned the win in the 4-3 victory, while Scherzer took the loss in the game played at Nationals Park.
It was a pair of home runs -- one by Corey Seager in the first inning to get the Dodgers on the board, and one by Justin Turner with a runner on in the third that ended up being the difference in the game -- that did in Scherzer. He was arguably the sharper of the two starters despite the homers, allowing just five hits without issuing a walk and striking out five over six innings.
"They were first-ball jumping early, like Seager did, so evidently everybody knows he's going to throw a lot of strikes and a lot of early strikes, because they attacked him in his last start like that," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said of Scherzer.
But it was Kershaw who did just enough to get the win, his third win in 11 career postseason starts. The 28-year-old gave up three runs on eight hits over five innings, needing 101 pitches to qualify for the decision. He struck out seven and walked one. A group of Joe Blanton, Grant Dayton, Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen combined to limit the Nats to one hit and two walks over the final four innings.
Jays Use Longball To Take Commanding Lead
It's a tried and true formula, and it's working out well for the Blue Jays so far.
Following in the footsteps of recent teams to get in by way of the Wild Card before making deep runs, the Jays moved to 3-0 this postseason after Friday's 5-3 defeat of the Rangers in Game 2 of their ALDS matchup. After starting in Arlington, the series now shifts to Toronto, where the Jays will have a chance to close it out behind Aaron Sanchez on Sunday. The Rangers will send Colby Lewis to the hill.
In Friday's contest, the Jays used four homers to plate all five of their runs against Rangers starter Yu Darvish. Kevin Pillar, Ezequiel Carrera and Edwin Encarnacion all hit solo homers in a three-run fifth inning, and Troy Tulowitzki had a two-run blast in the second to start the scoring.
"Home runs are always a good thing," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Some good at-bats, some unlikely guys. Carrera, he doesn't hit a lot of home runs. Kev can hit his share. I know one thing about Pillar, he doesn't necessarily hit a lot of them, but he hits some big ones ... and of course Eddie does that all the time."
The Rangers had chances against Jays starter J.A. Happ, but they were able to turn their nine hits into just one run. They later got to Francisco Liriano, who left the game after he was hit in the head by a line drive in a scary scene, for two more, but Roberto Osuna slammed the door to secure the commanding series lead.
Quick Hits: Despite the scare, the Blue Jays announced late Friday that Liriano had been released from the hospital and was cleared to fly home with the team. Liriano was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure after he was struck in the back of the head/neck by a Carlos Gomez line drive in Game 2 of the ALDS on Friday. He should be available for Game 3 in Toronto on Sunday ... Devon Travis (knee) will undergo an MRI on Saturday. Travis had to be scratched from Friday's ALDS Game 2 due to what the Blue Jays referred to as right knee irritation. He admitted after the contest that the knee "hurts pretty good." It's unclear at this point whether he'll have a chance to be ready for Game 3, but obviously more should be known after Saturday's exam ... Daniel Murphy (glute) was back in the Nationals' lineup for Friday's NLDS Game 1 versus the Dodgers as expected. Murphy had been out since September 17 with a strained left glute and doesn't seem to be 100 percent yet, but he got through some workouts this week with no issues. He went 1-for-3 with a walk in the loss ... Eduardo Nunez (hamstring) made it onto the Giants' NLDS roster. Nunez wasn't ready to start in Game 1 on Friday, but he got in the game as a pinch-hitter against Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning. Nunez hit a weak liner to second baseman Javier Baez that he might normally beat out for an infield hit, but he was visibly slowed by the hamstring and was thrown out easily. Before Friday, he hadn't played in nearly two weeks due to the right hamstring injury. Cole Gillaspie got the start at third base. Ty Blach also earned a spot for the Giants, knocking Steven Okert off the roster ... Stephen Strasburg (elbow) threw a bullpen session Friday. It's the first time Strasburg has thrown off a mound since he injured his pitching elbow a month ago. The righty also revealed that he tore his pronator tendon, not his flexor mass as previously reported. Strasburg won't make any starts during the postseason, but if he continues to progress it's possible the Nationals could have the right-hander available in a relief role should they make the NLCS. He'll throw another bullpen session Monday.