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Blue Jays keep playoff hopes alive, defeat Indians 5-1 in ALCS Game 4

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The Blue Jays’ offense brought the offense and starter Aaron Sanchez brought his arm to Tuesday afternoon’s match-up against the Indians, staying alive in the postseason with a 5-1 victory in Game 4 of the ALCS.

Josh Donaldson opened the scoring with a solo home run off of Corey Kluber in the bottom of the third inning. Ezequiel Carrera would tack on another run with an RBI single in the fourth. Those two runs would prove to be the only runs they’d need, but not the only ones they’d score.

Sanchez, meanwhile, was a hard nut for the Indians to crack. The right-hander yielded one run on two hits and two walks with five strikeouts on 95 pitches over six innings. Nine of his 18 outs came on ground outs. The run came around in the fifth when Sanchez issued a one-out walk to Coco Crisp followed by a two-out RBI double to Roberto Perez.

For the Tribe, Kluber — pitching on short rest — went five frames, giving up two runs on four hits and a pair of walks with seven strikeouts on 89 pitches.

Brett Cecil relieved Sanchez in the top of the seventh, getting Jose Ramirez to line out before striking out both Rajai Davis and Coco Crisp for an easy inning of work.

The Blue Jays tacked on some insurance in the bottom of the seventh seventh as Ryan Goins singled off of reliever Bryan Shaw to lead off the inning and Jose Bautista reached on a short grounder that resulted in Shaw throwing the ball into foul territory in right field, moving Goins to third base. Shaw intentionally walked Donaldson to load the bases and set up a force at every base. Edwin Encarnacion proceeded to ground a single up the middle, plating two runs. Donaldson was thrown out at third base on the play while Encarnacion moved up to second. At long last, the Jays got to the Indians’ bullpen.

Shaw was removed from the game and Mike Clevenger entered to make his postseason debut. Clevenger uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Encarnacion to advance to third base. Troy Tulowitzki hit a tapper back to the mound for out number two. Russell Martin grounded out to third base to end the inning.

Jason Grilli took over in the top of the eighth for the Jays. He set the Indians down in 1-2-3 fashion, getting Brandon Guyer to ground out, Perez to fly out, and Carlos Santana to foul out.

The Jays continued to add on in the bottom of the eighth against Clevenger. Carrera tripled to right-center field with one out and came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Kevin Pillar.

Closer Roberto Osuna locked down the ninth inning, sandwiching a Francisco Lindor ground out with strikeouts of Jason Kipnis and Mike Napoli.

The Indians will try once again to clinch the ALCS and advance to the World Series on Wednesday at 4:00 PM EDT in ALCS Game 5. Ryan Merritt will start for the Indians against the Jays’ Marco Estrada.

Rockies, Trevor Story agree on two-year, $27.5 million contract

Trevor Story
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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story have come to terms on a two-year, $27.5 million deal, buying out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.

Story, 27, and the Rockies did not agree on a salary before the deadline earlier this month. Story filed for $11.5 million while the team countered at $10.75 million. The average annual value of this deal — $13.75 million — puts him a little bit ahead this year and likely a little bit behind next year.

This past season in Colorado, Story hit .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases over 656 trips to the plate. He also continued to rank among the game’s best defensive shortstops. Per FanGraphs, Story’s 10.9 Wins Above Replacement over the last two seasons is fifth-best among shortstops (min. 1,000 PA) behind Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Marcus Semien.

With third baseman Nolan Arenado likely on his way out via trade, one wonders if the same fate awaits Story at some point over the next two seasons.