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Bullpen helps Indians to 3-0 lead over Blue Jays in ALCS

Indians starter Trevor Bauer gets pulled when his injured right pinkie starts to bleed in the first inning.

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Indians starter Trevor Bauer gets pulled when his injured right pinkie starts to bleed in the first inning.

TORONTO — The Indians are one win from the World Series, and the list of things they have overcome continues to grow longer and stranger.

Trevor Bauer's lacerated pinkie forced his exit from the game much earlier than expected, but it was no matter as the bullpen again quieted the Blue Jays' bats and a frenzied Rogers Centre crowd to rally for a 4-2 win in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series on Monday night.

With it, the Indians took a 3-0 series lead and remain undefeated in the postseason.

Bauer's pinkie on his throwing hand, which was sliced by a drone Thursday night, began to bleed profusely in the first inning. The club hadn't thought it'd be an issue. Per Major League Baseball rules, Bauer had to leave the game, putting the bullpen in the most difficult position it has been in this season.

Dan Otero, Jeff Manship, Zach McAllister, Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen and Andrew Miller rallied to allow two runs in 81/3 innings, winning an effective "bullpen game" on one of baseball's biggest stages.

Of all the unpredictable ways the Indians have won and overcome an obstacle the past several weeks, Monday night's win to put them one game from the World Series is at the top of the list.

The Indians battled in the early going behind Mike Napoli awakening from his postseason slumber. Napoli, hitting .111 in the postseason, drove an RBI double off Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman to rightfield that bounced in and out of Jose Bautista's glove to give the Indians a 1-0 lead. With it tied at 1 in the fourth, Napoli again put the Indians on top by clubbing a solo home run to left-centerfield.

The Blue Jays twice tied it via Michael Saunders' solo home run in the second inning off Otero and Ryan Goins' RBI groundout in the fifth against McAllister to score Ezequiel Carrera, who led off the inning with a triple.

In the sixth, the Indians broke free. Jason Kipnis drilled a home run off Stroman to rightfield to make it 3-2. Napoli drew a walk and advanced on a wild pitch by reliever Joe Biagini. Jose Ramirez then singled to center to score Napoli.

DODGERS TAB ROOKIE: Left-hander Julio Urias is scheduled to start for Los Angeles in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series against the Cubs. Manager Dave Roberts said the 20-year-old rookie from Mexico will open Wednesday, followed by right-hander Kenta Maeda in Game 5 on Thursday.

Bullpen helps Indians to 3-0 lead over Blue Jays in ALCS 10/17/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 12:03am]
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