Friday, July 20, 2018
Sports

Indians send Ortiz, Sox home

BOSTON — The ball settled into the rightfielder's glove, the Indians poured onto the diamond and the Fenway fans fell silent.

Then, slowly from the crowd rose a chant of "Pa-pi!"

Cleveland swept the Red Sox out of the postseason and sent David Ortiz into retirement Monday night with a 4-3 victory that completed a three-game AL Division Series sweep. But even as the Indians frolicked on the field in their celebratory hats and T-shirts, Boston fans weren't ready to let their beloved Big Papi go.

"I'm glad he didn't get a hit to beat us," manager Terry Francona said after leading the Indians to their second postseason sweep ever. "I thought it was an honor to be on the field, competing against him in his last game, because he's truly one of the best. You could tell the way people were hanging around yelling his name and everything. He deserves every bit of that."

Coco Crisp hit a two-run homer, closer Cody Allen got four outs and the Indians advanced the AL Championship Series for the first time since 2007.

Perhaps inspired by the Cavaliers' NBA title — the city's first pro sports championship since 1964 — the Indians shut down Ortiz and the most prolific offense in the league. Rookie Tyler Naquin delivered a two-run single and Josh Tomlin pitched five strong innings for the Indians, who open the ALCS at home against the Blue Jays on Friday.

"Nobody in this clubhouse doubts what we're what capable of," reliever Andrew Miller said. "I think we saw in our games in Cleveland how much support we have. It's a special place to be. I think we have bigger things ahead of us, but it's not going to be any easier."

Nationals gain edge

LOS ANGELES — Jayson Werth always wanted to hit a home run out of Dodger Stadium when he played two seasons in the venerable ballpark. His latest attempt came close with a 450-foot blast into the upper reaches of the leftfield pavilion.

Werth's homer helped break open a one-run game in the ninth inning, moving the Nationals within one victory of taking a postseason series for the first time with an 8-3 win over the Dodgers and a 2-1 lead in the NLDS.

He even tied Babe Ruth with his 15th postseason homer, 11th all-time.

"Ever since Dusty (Baker) moved me into the two-hole, I just felt like my job is to get on base for the animals behind me," said Werth, whose three hits tied a postseason career high.

TWO JAYS IMPROVING: Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins expects second baseman Devon Travis to return from a sore right knee and play in the AL Championship Series and said left-hander Francisco Liriano is improving after a concussion last week.

RAYS LET COACH GO: The Rays have parted ways with longtime strength and conditioning coordinator Kevin Barr, whose contract was not renewed. Barr had been with the Rays since the 2003 season, and in baseball since 1994, working previously with the Marlins, Royals and Reds. Also, outfielder Jaff Decker and left-hander Dana Eveland opted for free agency after being outrighted to Triple A last week, and baseball operations VP Chaim Bloom declined an offer to interview for the Diamondbacks' general manager job.

Times staff writer Marc Topkin contributed to this report.

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