LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The Toronto Blue Jays kept their hopes of reaching Major League Baseball’s World Series alive on Tuesday with a 5-1 home victory over the Cleveland Indians.
The Blue Jays denied the Indians a four-game sweep of the best-of-seven American League Championship Series, which will send the winners into a title showdown with either the Chicago Cubs or Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Cubs, trying to end a World Series drought that stretches back to 1908, slipped 2-1 down in the National League Championship Series with a 6-0 game-three defeat in Los Angeles.
In Toronto, Josh Donaldson homered, Edwin Encarnacion drove in two runs and Aaron Sanchez pitched six strong innings for the Blue Jays, who handed Cleveland their first defeat of the post-season.
Ezequiel Carrera singled in a run in the fourth to put Toronto up 2-0.
Robert Perez doubled in a run for Cleveland to trim the deficit, but with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh Encarnacion smacked a single to center that scored two runs to stretch Toronto’s lead to 4-1, and they tacked on another run in the bottom of the eighth.
‘‘They hit better than us, they pitched better than us, they played defense better than us today, so they deserved to win,’’ Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor said. ‘‘Their hitters looked a lot better today, a lot more comfortable.’’
Toronto host game five on Wednesday, with the Indians again aiming to secure their first World Series appearance since 1997, when they were beaten by the Florida Marlins in a seven-game thriller.