TORONTO – Josh Donaldson homered to give Toronto a long-awaited lead, and the Blue Jays finally broke through with the bats, beating the Cleveland Indians 5-1 on Tuesday to avert a sweep in the AL Championship Series.
The Indians still lead the series 3-1, but Donaldson and a poised Aaron Sanchez handed them their first loss of this postseason. Edwin Encarnacion added a two-run single in the seventh, a welcome sight for a raucous Rogers Centre crowd that had fallen silent watching its team reach the brink of elimination because of a slumbering offense.
Donaldson’s solo shot to left-center field off Corey Kluber in the third put the Blue Jays ahead for the first time all series. Sanchez, the American League ERA champion, allowed a run and two hits in six innings, and the bullpen finished with three perfect innings.
Cleveland will try again Wednesday to win to earn its first World Series trip since 1997 when lightly used rookie Ryan Merritt faces Marco Estrada.