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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.

Watch: Christian Yelich continues to make a case for NL MVP repeat

Christian Yelich
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Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.

The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.

While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.

Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.

It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.