Kluber, Miller put the heat on Blue Jays in ALCS Game 1 win

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What looked like an even match-up on paper looked anything but that on the field as the Indians trounced the Blue Jays 2-0 to take their first win of the Championship Series.

Cy Young nominee Corey Kluber wielded a nasty curveball in 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing eight baserunners and striking out six. Of the eight batters to reach base, five found themselves in scoring position through the first four frames. Kluber painted the corners of the strike zone with his off-speed stuff and, failing that, leaned on a couple of slick defensive moves from Mike Napoli to limit Toronto’s threat on the basepaths.

The Blue Jays, on the other hand, found themselves outgunned, outmanned, outnumbered, and outplanned, even as their right-hand(ed) man went the distance for a complete game loss. Marco Estrada took a shutout into the sixth inning, where Francisco Lindor manipulated a changeup for the first and only runs of the night on a one-out, two-RBI bomb to right field.

Estrada knocked out six strikeouts in the eight-inning loss, becoming one of four pitchers to log a complete game loss in the postseason since 1996 — and the second since the 2016 postseason began. (Giants’ right-hander Johnny Cueto holds the other complete game loss of this year’s playoff run, with a 10-strikeout three hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS.)

At the end of the day, however, the Blue Jays’ offense was stifled by an airtight Indians’ defense. When Kluber and his 0.00 postseason ERA exited the game, left-hander Andrew Miller and his 0.00 ERA arrived, surrendering one base hit and striking out five in 1 2/3 innings of relief.

Closer Cody Allen needed just eleven pitches to see him through the ninth inning, and worked his way to a full count only once on a Michael Saunders strikeout.

The ALCS will resume on Saturday afternoon at 4 PM EDT when Josh Tomlin and J.A. Happ take the mound.

Bogaerts reportedly heading to the Padres for 11 years, $280 million

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres and Xander Bogaerts agreed to a blockbuster $280 million, 11-year contract Wednesday night, adding the All-Star slugger to an already deep lineup.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the contract to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Padres already had Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop, but he missed the entire season because of injuries and an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

San Diego also met with Aaron Judge and Trea Turner before the big stars opted for different teams. The Padres reached the NL Championship Series this year before losing to the Phillies.

“From our standpoint, you want to explore and make sure we’re looking at every possible opportunity to get better,” general manager A.J. Preller said before the Bogaerts deal surfaced. “We’ve got a real desire to win and do it for a long time.”

The 30-year-old Bogaerts was one of the headliners in a stellar group of free-agent shortstops that also included Turner, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson.

Bogaerts, who’s from Aruba, terminated his $120 million, six-year contract with Boston after the season. The four-time All-Star forfeited salaries of $20 million for each of the next three years after hitting .307 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 150 games.

Bogaerts is a .292 hitter with 156 homers and 683 RBIs in 10 big league seasons – all with Boston. He helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 and 2018.

Bogaerts becomes the latest veteran hitter to depart Boston after the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020. Rafael Devers has one more year of arbitration eligibility before he can hit the market.

Bogaerts had his best big league season in 2019, batting .309 with a career-best 33 homers and 117 RBIs. He had 23 homers and 103 RBIs in 2018.

In 44 postseason games, Bogaerts is a .231 hitter with five homers and 16 RBIs.